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The most important Era in the history of Thailand

There are:

  • The Sukhothai Kingdom, founded in the early 13th century.
  • The Kingdom of Ayutthaya (1350-1767).
  • The Thonburi Period (1767 – 1782).
  • The Rattanakosin Period (from 1782 to the present day).
The Sukhothai Kingdom

The first united Thai kingdom is said to have been founded in the early 13th century by king Si Intharathit. The first capital was Sukhothai. The name means “Blissfully Dawn”. King Ramkhamhaeng the Great was the eminent ruler of Sukhothai. He invented the Thai alphabets  700 years ago.

The Ayutthaya Kingdom

The Ayutthaya Kingdom lasted for 417 years. During this period diplomatic relations were established with the European countries and embassies were established. Much trade was done.

Missionaries came into the country and were given the freedom to preach their religion. The Ayutthaya period was the golden age of architecture, fine arts and literature. The Kingdom of Ayutthaya ended in 1767 when the capital was invaded and destroyed by the Burmese ( Myanma).

The Thonburi Kingdom

Thonburi, located on the west bank of the Chao Praya River, was founded by King Taksin as the new capital of Thailand, but served as the seat of government for only 15 years.

The Rattanakosin period

With the establishment of the Chakri Dynasty in 1782 by King Rama I , the Rattanakosin period began. King Rama I named Bangkok, which lies on the east bank of the Chaopraya River, the new capital of Thailand. The main reason for this was that soil on the Thonburi side was being carried away by the water.

In addition, Bangkok has a better strategic location. The foundation stone for the construction of the city was laid at Lakmuang Shrine. In 1982 the city and the Palace celebrated their 200th anniversary.

About the history of Bangkok

Bangkok used to be just a small fishing village on the banks of the Chao Praya River. However, the village was of strategic importance for the millions. It had a fortress wall that served to protect the then capital Ayutthaya from intruders from the sea.

During the reign of King Narai (1656 – 1688), Bangkok was a flourishing trading center.With the founding of the Chakri dynasty in 1782 by Rama I, a new period began with Bangkok as the capital. This time is known as the Rattanakosin time in the history of Thailand.

King Vachiralongkorn, the current king, is the tenth ruler of the royal house. Bangkok received the official name “Krungrattanakosin” and means something like: City in which the Emerald Buddha resides.

Bangkok used to consist of elaborated of canals system. For this reason, the city was called the “Venice of the East”. At the Present Most of the canals were closed to build roads, but a few have been preserved and still serve as waterways.

The Royal palace

The Royal Palace is on the same site as the Temple of the Emerald Buddha. Its area is divided into four parts.

On the east side is the Temple of the Emerald Buddha, the official building is on the west side. In the middle you can see a group of the Tronhall and royal buildings.

The royal palace was built in the time of King Rama I. Construction began on May 6, 1782 and was completed in 1785. The building is being renovated by all kings of the Chakri dynasty.

The Chittladda Palace

The Chittladda Palace was built in the time of King Rama VI (King Vachiravut). King Rama VII (King Prachatipok) regarded it as an outbuilding of the Dusit palace.The former King Bhumibol , King Rama IX made this palace his residence.

Located on 70 hectares, the palace contains not only the royal residence, but also the Chittladda School, numerous economic projects under the royal patronage: a dairy, an experimental rice plant and a rice mill.

Dusit palace

The Dusit Palace, built by King Rama V, was first known as the Dusdi Garden. The palace includes the Anantasamakom Hall, Ampornsatan Hall, Suan Bua, Suanpudtan, Parliament, Chittladda Palace and Dusit Zoo ( so far has been moved ).

Saranrom Palace

The palace was built in the time of King Rama IV (King Mungkut) and was used by King Rama V (King Chulalongkorn) as a guest house for royal visitors. Nowadays the building has been served as a Defense Ministry Building.

Monuments
  1. The statue of king Rama I
  2. is located at the Memorial Bridge of the Chaopraya River. Designed by Prince Naritt and casted by Professor Sinn Bhirasi, the bronze statue was unveiled by King Rama VII on April 6, 1932. Since then, April 6th has been celebrated as the day of remembrance for the founder of the Chakri Dynasty.

  3. The statue of King Rama V
  4. You can find this statue on Royal Plaza, in front of the Dusit Palace. The statue was built from donations from Thai people on the occasion of the 40th anniversary of the Coronation of King Rama V. The bronze statue itself was casted in Paris during the second royal trip to Europe and transported by ship to Bangkok. On November 11, 1908, the statue was unveiled by the king himself.

  5. The statue of King Rama VI (king Vachiravut)
  6. Initially, the Vachiravut School wanted to put the statue on the school grounds. However, the government at that time, whose Prime Minister Luang Pibunsongkram was, decided to put the statue in front of Lumpini Park, as the park was created on the initiative of the king. Designed and casted by Professor Sinn Bhirasi, the statue was unveiled on March 27, 1942.

The Democracy monument

The foundation stone of the monument was laid on June 24th 1939 and built during the time of Field Marshal Pibhulsongkram. Construction lasted until June 22, 1940, and the monument was unveiled on June 24, 1940.

The monument – according to its name – symbolizes the change from absolute monarchy to democracy in 1932.

The twenty-four meter long wings and the twenty-four meter radius of the monument represent June 24th, i.e. the day of the change in the system of government.

The seventy-five cannons around the monument symbolize the Buddhist year 2475.The 3 meter high column base under the constitutional replica refers to June – the third month according to the traditional Thai calendar.

The six swords on the gate of the pillar stand for the six main concerns of the politics of the government of the time:

  • Independence·
  • Inner peace·
  • Equality·
  • Freedom·
  • Economy·
  • Education.
The Victory Monument

The monument is in front of the Ratchavitie Hospital. The square in the northwest corner currently serves as a small bus station. The monument was – by order of Field Marshal Pibhulsongkram – a memorial site for 59 officers, policemen, civil servants and civilians who sacrificed their lives during the Indochina War between Thailand and France in January 1939.

The five statues represent the army, navy, air force, police and civilians.

Religious places
The Golden Mountain (Chedi Phukao Thong)

This religious monument in the form of a golden Stupa at Wat Saket is located on a man-made mountain . The construction began in the time of Rama III and ended during the reign of the following King Rama IV. The Stupa contains Buddha’s Relics, which King Rama V received as a gift from India. The Golden Mountain Stupa represents the highest of Bangkok, it is 76 meters high i.e. nine meters higher than the Prang of the Temple of Dawn > Wat Arun (67 meters) 

The Lakmuang Shrine

On the right side of the Ministry of Defense is the Bangkok City’s Shrine. Influenced by the Brahmanic traditional, the Thai people believe that the Shrine of the city symbolizes the establishment of Bangkok. The first Shrine Bangkok was built on April 21, 1782, which fell apart over time and was replaced on behalf of King Rama IV. Two pillars of the city have stood side by side since then.

Standing Buddha statue

The big Buddha statue of Wat IntharaviharnThis standing Buddha statue made of brick and plaster is about 40 meters high. It was set up in Wat Intharaviharn in the Bangkhunprom district. The construction of the statue, which is considered to be the largest Buddha statue in Bangkok, began in the time of Rama IV and ended in 1928.

Phra Sukhothai Traimit (The Golden Buddha Statue)

This Sukhothai-style golden Buddha statue is kept in the Bot of Wat Trai Mitr. Initially the statue was in Wat Chotikaram and – as a normal Buddha statue made of brick and plaster – was transported to Wat Traimitr. During the transport, a piece of plaster was broken off, so that its golden surface was exposed.

It was discovered that the whole statue is made of pure solid gold. This seated Buddha statue is 3.9 meters high.

The National Museum

The museum is located on the palace complex of the then successor to the throne – Prince Krom Phra Ratchawang Borworn – near the royal palace.

After this prince title was abolished in the time of Rama V, part of his palace became the National Museum in 1926.

The idea of building a national museum came from king Rama IV, who was collecting antiquities in the  Palace at that time. However, the collection was not shown to the public and was therefore more of a private collection.

The first public museum was initially established in 1874 in the time of Rama V in the Concordia Hall. It was moved to the current side of the palace later in 1926.

Lumpini Park

The park – originally known as Thungsaladaeng – was once the private property of King Rama VI. He gave the grounds for the public park to his people and named it after the place of birth Buddha – Lumpini. Unfortunately, the king could not see his plan come true. The park was not completed until the time of the following King Phrachatipok.

Sanam – Luang

The large meadow next to the Royal Place and in front of the Thammasart University. This is where the public cremations of deceased members of the royal family take place. In the past there was also a weekend market on the square, as the whole abundance of tropical fruits, food and goods of all kinds as well as old books were offered for sale.

Many years ago this market was relocated to Chatuchak Park on the outskirts of Bangkok. It is located opposite the northern bus station.

Chatuchak Park

The property originally belonged to the Thai Rail system. In 1975 it was converted into a public park in celebration of King Bhumipol’s 48th birthday.

The construction of the park was not finished until 1980. Nowadays, the square is not only used as a park, but also as a popular shopping area, to which the Sanam – Luang weekly market has been relocated.

Bang – Lumpu

Bang – Lumpu is part of the old town of Bangkok. This district is located west of the city center, between the Chao praya River and Ratchadamnoen Street. Many Thai families still live in this area in the old tradition.

They live in small old houses that are sometimes made of wood. Numerous traditional dishes are offered at the Bang Lum Pu market. The Bang Lumpu market is very famous for this.

There are also small restaurants on the street in Bang Lumpu that are run by families. The market is also known for flower arrangements and traditional wreaths.

Chinatown

In the south-east of the city center, between Charoen krung Street and the Chaopraya River, lies Sampeng, the Chinese quarter of Bangkok. In this part of the city around Yaowarat Street there are numerous Chinese shops, alleyways with Chinese inscriptions, loudspeakers, posters and restaurants. Everything is traded here, especially antiques and gold.

The Chinese came to Sukhothai, the first capital of the Kingdom of Thailand, about 700 years ago. With the import of Chinese pottery, which are brought into the country by King Ramkhamhaeng, a workshop for ceramic goods was built. Then the first Chinese were admitted to Thailand.

In the Ayutthaya period, in the 16th century, there were already districts that were predominantly inhabited by Chinese. When Bangkok was founded in 1782, a large Chinese community had to be relocated from the residence in front of the King’s Palace to Sampeng.

In the late 19th and 20th centuries, the number of Chinese people increased rapidly. They play a great influence on the Thai economic life. The main difference between the Chinese and the Thai people is the small eyelid trap and the lighter complexion.

Temple architecture
  • Bot / Ubosot
  • The most important building within a Wat is the Bot or Ubosod or Ordination Hall. All religious ceremonies of the monk community take place in here ; here the monks pray and meditate in a solemn ceremony consecrated and accepted into the order.

  • Bai Sema
  • Or sacred stone that mark the sacred area of the Bot. This area is called Khantasema. All Buddhism Ceremonies will be carried out inside Khantasema. 

  • Viharn
  • The Vihan usually has a similar architectural style as the Bot. Inside, a Buddha image is set up for the religious rite. When the Buddha was still alive, the Vihan had the function of “shelter” During the rainy season, i.e. the earlier Buddhist monks stayed in the Vihan.

    Three hundred years later, at the time when the erection of Buddha statues was becoming popular, the Vihan functioned as a place where monks would gather and perform their religious acts. This function has been retained to this day.

  • Prarabieng
  • A roof corridor encloses the inner part of the temple. The roof surrounds the Ubosot or the Vihan. Decorated Phra Rabieng can be seen in the Temple of the Emerald Buddha, Wat Phra Chettupol, Wat Sutat and Wat Benchamabopit. 

  • Sala kan parien
  • After the construction of Vihan in the temple was no longer so popular, the place for meditation and religious rites was moved to the Sala Kan Parien. Salakanparien is usually an open pavilion that stands on high columns so that the ground floor can be used. Religious ceremonies are performed in the raised hallway in the middle. 

  • Sala Batr
  • You can usually find a Sala Bat in the country. It is the place where monks receive their gifts from lay people. 

  • Ho Trai
  • The Ho Trai is the place where the sacred Buddhist scriptures are kept. Usually the Ho Trai is made of wood – standing in a small pond – so that the building is kept away from insects and rodents. 

  • Kampaeng Kaeo
  • Is the low boundary wall that surrounds the Ubosot or Bot to separate the sacred area of the Wat, marked by Sema stones, from other parts. This wall has its origin in Mahayana Buddhism; it represents the concept of Sukavadi, the building of happiness.

  • Stupa or StupChedi
  • A cone-shaped structure with a tapering mast, the shape of the cone can be circular or polygonal. The name “StupChedi” is made up of two words. 

    The Stupa originally meant a loud burial mound that is gradually being decorated.

    The Chedi originated from the word “Chaitiya” which means an object of worship. In Buddhism, StupChedi is considered to be a sacred building that represents buddha, because corpse ashes are kept in it.

There are many forms and styles of StupChedi. As a rule, they can be divided into three large groups.

  1. The conical StupChedi, also known as the Lanka or Ceylonese style of Stupa. The building basically consists of the following elements:
    • The round base, called Than kieng, which represents the earthly restriction·
    • Three series of forms as symbols of Buddhist cosmology· 
    • Other groups of forms called Bua Pak.
    • On top of the bell-shaped building a square platform, which symbolizes the throne Buddha or the teachings of the Buddha. A series of receding round shapes called “Plong Chanai”, the number of layers varies.
    • The upward tapering mast, which supports a ball “Luk Kaeo”. This sphere represents the highest form of wisdom,
    • The other rows of the upwardly pointed mast, above the top element called “Yard nam kang”, which symbolizes the achievement of Buddha’s enlightenment.

    Lankan style stupas are covered in simple white lacquer work with pale copper, covered with gold leaf or partially gold-plated. 

  2. The square stupchedi appears for the first time in the reign of King Phrasart Thong of Ayutthaya period and is a derivative of the spherical chedi. Its major structural elements are as follows; 
    • The square base called “Than Batr” represents the human earth.
    • Three superimposed layers stand for the three highest authorities of the three worlds in the Buddhist cosmology “Than Singh”·
    • On the upper column foot there are lotus forms, which mean the basis of higher existence.
    • The structure of the StupChedi and all the elements on it show the same forms and also represent the same ideas as those of the circular StupChedi. The square StupChedi with a jagged corner is often decorated with stucco. The modern ones are decorated like a mosaic with ceramic pieces. 

  3. The circular chedi on a square base an integrated design of the circular StupChedi, supported by the square base of the Mondops. Such structures appeared in the Srivichai, Chiengsaen, Sukhothai, Ayutthaya and Rattanakhosin periods. 
Phra Prang

In contrast to the Chedi, the prang is a legacy of Hindu architecture. It goes back to the temple tower of the Khmer. Like this, the prang has a rectangular floor plan and high, steep steps that lead up to the chapel.

On top of it is the actual tower, which leads upwards, but whose tip is rounded in the shape of a piston. The word prang actually means “courtyard” and refers to the open courtyard in front of the Shrine. In Brahmanic ceremonies it was forbidden for lay people to enter the holy Shrine, because this place was only intended for monks, so the lay people took part in the ceremonies in the courtyard.

The Prang serves essentially the same purpose as the Chedi. Originally built to preserve Buddha relics, such towers were later erected as grave monuments. In some important temples, the Prang is the main building of the Wats. 

Types of Buddhist Chedi

In the Buddhist sense, the word “Chedi” denotes the building that represents the symbolic monument of Buddha. There are four types of Chedi;

  1. The That Chedis, in which the ashes of the Buddha are kept. This Chedi can have the shape of a Stupa as well as a Prang. 
  2. The Boripok Chedis mark four places in the life of the Buddha:
    • His place of birth
    • Enlightenment
    • The place where he gave his first sermon
    • And the one on whom he died

    Other Chedis that mark prominent places or important events and serve as shrines for a certain important person are also classified under this type. 

  3. The Thamma Chedis represent the Buddhist doctrine, in them the important writings of the Buddhist doctrine were kept in the old days. In later times the Buddhist “Bible” the Traipitaka also becomes a form of this Chedi. 
  4. The Utesika Chedis include all characteristics and representations of the Buddha as well as his teachings, such as the Buddha statues etc.The Chedis are usually built within a temple complex. The Chedis that we mostly encounter are in the form of Stupa, Prang and Utesika Chedi in the form of statues of Buddha. 
Stupas and Prangs

The Stupas – sometimes also called StupChedi – and the prang are mostly found in Buddhist temples. In some cases a Stupa or a Prang is even considered the most important building of the temple.

Some of them are called That Chedi, although they do not contain any Buddhist ashes at all.

The architectural styles of the Stupas and Prangs can be traced back to different sources, which explains their different appearance. 

The Stupas first appeared during the time of King Asokes the Great, around the 3rd Buddhist era. On his initiative, Stupas in the form of domes were built on a rectangular base, such as the Stupa in Sanchi in India, whose architectural style became the prototype for the Stupa of Hinayana Buddhism.

This type of Stupa developed its architectural style and became known in Thailand, e.g. as “Chedi of circular Sinhala style”, square Chedi with twelve corners, etc. In contrast to the Chedi, the Prang is a legacy of Mahayana Buddhism.

The architecture of the Thai Prang goes back to the temple tower of the Khmer, which was modified according to the Thai architecture. For example, the tower looked slimmer and was decorated with garuda in rows and nine jagged ends.

These Prangs can be seen as an example of Thai – Buddhist architecture.Although the earlier Stupas and Prangs were supposed to be used to store the Buddha’s relics, such religious buildings with authentic relics became increasingly rare.

Other Stupas and Prangs of more recent times are considered to be structural monuments in the sense of the Utesika Chedi.  

Wat – The Thai Buddhist Temple and its functions

The Buddhist monastery is usually referred to as a “Wat” in Thailand. Classification of the templeIn addition, temples are divided into two categories.

  1. Royal temples
  2. Civil temples

Royal temples are either those whose construction was commissioned by the king or which are under the patronage of the king. These temples are in turn structured hierarchically according to ranks, which can be recognized by the endings of their names. There are a total of six temples, which carry the highest rank of the first class royal temples:four are in Bangkok namely:

  1. Wat Phra Chetupol
  2. Wat Mahathat
  3. Wat Suthat
  4. Wat Arun

Two are in the provinces, namely.

  1. Wat Phra Pathom Chedi in Nakhon Pathom Province·
  2. Wat Phra Putthabat in Saraburi Province.

The Temple of the Emerald Buddha is deliberately excluded from this group. Its uniqueness lies in its spiritual function. For once, there is no monastery belonging to the temple. According to statistics from 1986, there are approximately 200 royal temples in addition to 31,200 temples of other types and classes.

The following temples were built by kings of the Chakri dynasty:

  • King Rama I: Wat Phra Chetupon
  • King Rama II: Wat Arun
  • King Rama III: Wat Ratcha – O – Rod
  • King Rama IV: Wat RatchapraditKing Rama V: Wat RatchabopitKing

Rama V built two temples during his reign:

  1. Wat Ratchabopit
  2. Wat Benchamabopit

Although Wat Ratchabopit is identified as the temple of his reign, the king’s ashes are actually kept in the base of the main Buddha figure in Wat Benchamabopit. No new royal temples have been built since King Rama VI, the following kings were more concerned with maintaining or restoring the temples that had already been built.

Zones in the temple

A “Wat” usually comprises two Zones:

  1. The temple complex (Buddhavad)
  2. The living area for the monks (Sangkavad)

A wat can also only contain the temple complex without the living area for the monks, such as Wat Phra kaeo or The Emerald Buddha. In the temple complex there are religious and ceremonial parts, in which the Ubosod or the Vihan etc. is laid out.

Lay people can enter this part of the Wats to attend religious ceremonies. In the larger temples, a clear separation is drawn through these two zones by walls, small alleys or Klongs.

The entry of women into the monks’ living quarters is strictly forbidden in some temples.

Functions

Like the medieval monastery in Europe, the Temple fulfills a number of other functions besides the religious one:

  1. The temple as a school
  2. The first schools in Thailand were built in the monasteries. Monks taught the boys from the area in reading, writing and arithmetic.

    During the reign of King Rama V (King Chulalongkorn), public schools were introduced in Thailand. Many monasteries still house state schools today. Some of these schools are very famous like the Wat Thepsirin School or the Wat Suthivararam School.

  3. The temple as a village hostel
  4. In the old days there were no hostels or hotels. Travelers were unable to stay overnight unless they had friends or relatives in the area. They went to the temple and asked the abbot for permission to spend the night in the temple. Nowadays, during a festival, people can also spend the night in the temple.

    The hospitality practiced in the temples is not limited to celebrations. The temple also offers refuge to people in need. Many rural residents send their children to school in Bangkok and also look for accommodation for their children at Wat.

    But only boys are allowed to live with the monks. They help them with daily works such as washing or preparing food. The boys not only get accommodation, but also food and are instructed in the Buddhist teachings.

  5. The Temple as a meeting center for the community
  6. The wat offers many uses, especially in the villages. It usually has a large assembly hall (sala) and a sports field. The young people meet for sports like takrow or football.

    You can use the hall for gatherings of the villagers, e.g. for meetings of government officials and villagers or for vaccination campaigns. But it can also serve as a location for a market.

    On religious holidays or Sundays, people come to the temple to hear sermons. On some public holidays, the temple is the place for annual markets and festive events. A wide variety of articles are then sold there.

    There are games for children, films, music, singing competitions, dances such as the folk dance “Ramwong”, traditional shows such as boxing and shadow games.

  7. And finally the temple as a repository
  8. Valuable objects that enjoy particular religious reverence or that are of particular artistic or historical importance are kept : Buddha statues, documents, palm leaves on which texts are written in Pali

The main temples in Bangkok
The Temple of the Emerald Buddha

Wat Phra Kaeo, or the Temple of the Emerald Buddha, stands on the grounds of the great royal palace. No monastery ( monk living quarter ) belongs to this temple. Wat Phra kaeo was built between 1782 and 1785 under the rule of King Rama I . It is a replica of the royal temple Wat Phra Sri San Phet in Ayutthaya.

Things to see in Wat Phra Kaeo
The Emerald Buddha

The figure of the Emerald Buddha consists of a green, transparent stone, made of jade. She is 66 cm. High and 48 cm. Wide.

The Emerald Buddha was discovered in a chedi in Chiengrai (northern Thailand) in 1434. Lightning had struck the chedi and damaged a small stucco Buhhha statue covered with gold leaf. The stucco peeled off and the little green jade figure emerged.

When the prince of Chiengmai heard of this event, he ordered the transfer of the Buddha figure to the capital. The elephant, who carried the figure on his back, decided at a crossroads for the way to Lampang and remained stubborn. His stubbornness was interpreted as a sign and the figure was finally brought to Lampang, where it stayed for 32 years.

In 1468 King Tilok brought them to Chiengmai. In 1552 a Lao king who had married a princess of Chiengmai brought them to Luang Pra Bang and shortly afterwards to Vientien.

The Emerald Buddha stayed in Laos for 226 years until General Chakrie, who later became King Rama the First, captured the figure on a campaign to Laos in 1778 and brought it back to Thailand. 

Three times a year the king himself changes the robe of the Emerald Buddha. In the rainy season, winter and summer. 

The bot in which the Emerald Buddha has been installed, is located in Wat Phra Kaeo. The walls of the bot are painted with scenes from the ten lives of the Buddha and depictions of heaven and hell. The roof of the bot has a three-layer cho – fa, the exterior walls are made of blue – gold stucco and decorated with glass mosaics. Windows and doors are decorated with mother-of-pearl. 

The murals in the gallery

The murals in the gallery, which extends like a cloister around the temple, show stories from the Ramakien, the Thai version of the Hindu epic “Ramayana”

The Phrasart Phra Tep Bidon

The Phrasart Phra Tep Bidon was built in the time of king Rama IV and was originally intended as a place of worship for the Emerald Buddha. But it turned out to be too small. King Rama the Sixth had the Phrasart restored and had the statues of the deceased Chakrie kings erected there. He named the sanctuary Phra Sart Phra Tep bidon.

To the north of the Phrasart Phra Tep Bidon, the miniature of the Phra Sart Nakorn Wat (Angor Wat), the largest and most important temple complex of Hinduism in Cambodia, was built. Construction began in the reign of King Rama IV and was completed under King Rama V.

In Homontientham there is a mother-of-pearl lacquered cupboard containing the Holy Scriptures. The Mondop is the library of the sacred writings of Traipidok. The Trai Pi dok was worked on under King Rama I and forms a basis of Theravada Buddhism. 

The golden chedi was built in 1885 under King Rama IV. The ashes of the Buddha are kept in the chedi. It was modeled on the chedi of Wat Phra Sri San Phet in Ayutthaya.

The Vihan Yot is decorated with Chinese porcelain.

Ho Phra Nag . The ashes of the members of the Chakrie dynasty are kept in here. 

The Royal Emblem monuments with the coat of arms of the Chakri King were created in the time of King Chulalongkorn.

The Phra Prang consists of eight different color Prang, represent the Buddhism elements.

  1. White = Buddha
  2. Green = Thamma > Teaching of Buddha
  3. Pink = Sanga > monk community
  4. Green = nuns > Lady monk > no more
  5. Purple = Bo – tree > sacred Tree
  6. Blue = The Universal king
  7. Red = Buddha
  8. Yellow = Future Buddha (Phra Sri Ariyametrei)

Twelve yaks (demons or giants) guard all the exits of the temple so that bad spirits cannot enter the temple.

Wat Pho (Temple of the Reclining Buddha)

Wat Pho is south of the great royal palace. Originally the temple was called “Wat Photharam”. According to Prince Damrong Rachanupap, a well-established Thai historian, Wat Pho was built in the 16th century, at the time of King Narai. Wat Pho has been restored several times, most notably under King Rama I and King Rama III.

Things to see in Wat Pho

The Bot (ubosot) has eight gates. The outside is designed with mother-of-pearl. The works show stories from the Ramakien. On the inside you can see the pictures of the monks’ prayer fans. The windows are made of solid teak and contain the names of Buddhist dignitaries. The most important Buddha figure in the temple is the Phra Buddha Patimakorn, the sculpture of a highly honored clergyman. The statue is in the Ayutthaya style.

The Bot stands in a large courtyard that is surrounded by a gallery. There are 394 sitting Buddha images were installed there.

There is a directional Vihan on all four sides.

  • The east Vihan contains a large Buddha statue, the Phra Lokanat, which comes from Wat Phra sri san pet in Ayutthaya.
  • The west Vihan the statue contains Buddha Chinnasri from Sawankalok·
  • The south Vihan the statue contains Buddha Chinarat, also from Sawankalok·
  • The north Vihan the statue contains Buddha Pa Le Lai from the time of King Rama I.

Giant Stupa. There are four giant Stupas to the west of the Bot which represent the first four kings of the Chakrie dynasty.

  1. The green stupa was built by King Rama I.
  2. The yellow stupa was built by King Rama III, representing Rama II.
  3. Rama III had the white stupa built, representing his reign.
  4. Rama IV had the blue stupa built.

Next to the four giant stupa you can see a hall decorated with Chinese mosaics. It has the shape of a Mondop. Two other interesting buildings on the monastery grounds are the Sala Kan Parien and the Building of the Resting Buddha. There is an old monks’ school in the Sala kan Parien.

The building, which houses the largest sculpture of a reclining Buddha, was built in the time of King Rama III. Covered with gold leaf, the statue is 46 meters long and 15 meters high. It depicts the Buddha at the entrance to nirvana. The soles of his feet face west and are inlaid with mother-of-pearl which show the 108 auspicious sight or Lucky Symbol.

Medical Pavilion.  In front of the large stupa there is a pavilion with granite tablets that King Rama III had built. On these tablets there are inscriptions dealing with traditional medicine.

Wat Benchamabopit

Wat Benchamabopit is mostly known by tourists as a “Marble Temple” because the Bot is largely made of Italian Carara marble. The building material and the architecture give the temple a special charm. King Chulalongkorn had it built in 1899.

An old monastery, Wat Sai Thong, known as Wat Leam, which probably dates from the Ayutthaya period, originally stood on the grounds of Wat Benchamabopit. King Rama III and King Rama IV  had the temple to be renovated. King Rama IV gave it the new name Wat Benchabopit. The word means “Temple of the Five Kings”. During the reign of King Rama V, the temple was renovated again. The king changed the name and called it Wat Banchamabopit. That means “Temple of the Fifth King”.

Things to see in Wat Benchamabopit.

The facade of the bot faces east. Two singhas (singha is a mythical lion in Hinduism) on either side of the stairs guard the main entrance. In the Bot is the most important buddha figure of the temple, the Phra Phut Ta Chinnasri.

It is a replica of the Phra Phuta Chinnarat from Phitsanulok. Originally, King Chulalongkorn wanted the statue from Phitsanulok to be brought to Bangkok, but gave up his plan in order not to offend the people of Phitsanulok. Ashes of King Chulalongkorn are kept under the altar in front of the statue.

The king spent his monkhood at this temple. There are eight niches inside the Bot. Each niche contains the image of a famous Stupa in Thailand. These pictures were painted in the time of King Rama VIII on the suggestion of Prince Krom Phraya Damrong.

Five lamps hang from the ceiling, representing the first five reigns of the Chakri Kings. These lamps were manufactured in Germany in 1930.

In the gallery there are 52 statues of Buddha in different styles and actions and from different epochs. The statues were personally chosen by King Chulalongkorn.

If you leave the gallery and go through the West Gate, you come across a Bo tree. It comes from the Bo tree in Buddha Kaya in India, where Buddha had his enlightenment. The tree was planted in the temple in 1900.

Pavilion in the grounds of the temple. The Royal Pavilion. Sermons and sometimes state ceremonies were held here. The royal ordination pavilion contains four small pavilions, which were originally located in the royal palace and served as the residence of the king and heir to the throne in their time as monks. After a restoration, the pavilions were brought to Wat Benchamabopit. The pavilion is not open to the public.

Next to the royal ordination pavilion is the pavilion for the four members of the royal family. The pavilion contains drums that the Thai army captured from hill tribes invading Thailand from southern China.

The pavilion (Vihan Somdet) was built in honor of Queen Sauwapa Pongsri. It contains some Buddha statues from the Sukhothai period and valuable cabinets in which sacred Buddhist scriptures are kept.

The bell that is in the Bawornwong bell tower comes from Wat Phra Kaeo Wang Na. After this temple had lost its royal status by a decree of King Rama V, the bell was transferred to Wat Benchamabopit.

Wat Arun Ratchavararam (Temple of Dawn)

Wat Arun is located on the west bank of the Chao Phra ya River. It is an old temple from the Ayutthaya period, built by King Narai.The older names of the temple were Wat Bang Ma Kok and Wat Chaeng, legend has it that the name Wat Chaeng comes from king Taksin.

He wanted to make Thonburi the new capital of Thailand in 1767 after driving the Burmese out of the country. Exactly arrived at the temple at the rise of the sun with his ship. He went to the temple to pay his respects to the Buddha’s relics. Then he had the temple restored and named it “Wat Chaeng” meant “ Dawn ”. The name Wat Arun Ratchavararam comes from King Rama II, who also had it restored.

Things to see in Wat Arun Ratchavararam.

The Bot was built in the time of King Rama II. The front and rear facades of the roof show images of angels with swords. The figure of “Buddha Naruemit” can be seen between the doors. The outside of the Bot is covered with Chinese porcelain.

Inside there are mural paintings depicting episodes from the life of the Buddha. Most of these pictures were painted during the time of King Rama III. The murals on the inside of the eight doors show motifs from Thai literature. The total area of the pictures is 366 square meters. . Over all doors and windows hang pictures of altar tables in Chinese style.

The Buddha statue inside Bot  is called “Phra Budda Thaamamisrarat Lokatatdilok”. There are 144 granite statues of Chinese warriors in the gallery. In all four owls of the Bot there is a Chinese stone Chedi. Each of the four Chedis contains eight Chinese granite figures called “Poi Sien”.

The Phra Vihan is located between the Mondop Phra Buddha Bat and the monks living quarter. In Phra Vihan there is the main Buddha statue “Phra Buddha Champunut” and two other Buddha images in the posture of “Mal Vichai”.

The Phra Mondop “Phra Buddha Bat” or “Buddha footprint “ lies between the Chedi and the Vihan.

There are four small chedi between the gallery and the mondop. They are decorated with colored porcelain and glass. They were built at the time of the great restoration under King Rama III.

The Sala “Nai Ruang” – “Nai Nok” contains the stone-carved monuments of Nai Ruang and Nai Nok. Both men burned themselves to death.

The Phra Prang is in the south in front of the Wat and behind the small Bot and the small Vihan. The Prang rises on steps that taper towards the top. The large prang is surrounded by fences.. On the second landing you can see colored porcelain figures.

On the third and fourth landing are the figures of Kinnon and kinnaris, mythical figures from literature. On the fourth landing there is also the green figure of the god Indra on the three-headed elephant Erawan in four niches. Above the four niches rises a small prang with the figure of the Hindu god Narai on his Garuda bird.

The high central tower is surrounded by four smaller prang. At the top of the prang there is nopasul and a gold-plated crown.

Wat Suthat

Wat Suthat is sometimes also called “Giant Swing Temple ” because the frame of a gigantic swing is located in the square in front of the temple. Construction of the wat began under the rule of King Rama I and was completed under the rule of King Rama III.

The temple is a replica of Wat Panan Choeng in Ayutthaya, and Wat Suthat is in the middle of the city.  In the temple there is the largest statue from the Sukhothai period, “Phra Si Sakaya Muni” – also called “Phra To (great Buddha)” by the people. This statue was brought to Bangkok from Wat Mahathat in Sukhothai.

Things to see in Wat Suthat

In the Royal Vihan is the Phra Sagayamuni. The walls in the Vihan show representations from the life of Buddha and pictures of the “Himalaya Forest”, a motif from Indian literature. There are pictures of people from four continents on the pillars.

The representations of these continents follow the descriptions in the Trai Bhum.The wood carvings on the entrance gates are famous. Most of the central door was carved by King Rama II himself. This door is now in the National Museum.In the Bot of Wat Suthat there is a seated Buddha, the “Phra Buddha Trai Lokkanat”.

The walls of the Bot show episodes from the life of the Buddha. Some pictures also depict stories from Thai literature, e.g. stories from Ramakien, Sang – Thong.There are no Stupas on the grounds of Wat Suthat. However, there are seven Chedi, a symbolic number of Chedis that already appear in the “Prathom Sompot” of the Buddha’s biography.

In the Sala Kanparien there is the figure of the Phra Buddha Sitmunie. King Rama III had this figure made to celebrate the legal ban on opium consumption.

Mural Painting

The mural painting in rattanakosin – like the sculptures – follows the later Ayutthaya style. The wall is divided into two parts, namely the upper section above the window line, which represents the heavenly ; The lower section below the window line depicts either episodes from the life of Buddha or stories from the Jatakas. On the wall behind the main Buddha statue, the Buddhist doctrine of the universe, of heaven, earth and hell is usually painted.

Buddhism

Buddhism in Thailand Around 95% of Thai people are Buddhists, 0.5% belong to Christianity and 3.8% are Muslims. Thais have been Buddhists since the 13th century.

Buddhism in its original form is no sacraments, no rites, no magical formulas, no holy institutions or organizations. In the course of its development in Thailand it has been supplemented by many religious beliefs, in particular by Hindu customs.

In the 3rd century BC, Buddhism became the state religion in India under King Asoka the Great. The king sent missionaries all over the world to spread the Buddha’s teachings. Ceylon was one of the main centers of Buddhism. In Thailand it was today’s city of Nakorn Pathom. In India, Buddhism was dissolved by the Shiva cult (Hinduism) from the 7th century onwards.

Buddhism in Thailand – unlike Mahayana Buddhism in China, Tibet, Japan, Vietnam or Korea, is called Hinayan.

The main difference between Hinayan and Mahayana lies in their teaching principle and practice.

In Hinayan, (Thailand, Ceylon and Burma) the Buddha’s teachings are strictly followed. In Mahayana (Chaina, Tabet, Bhutan) one does not adhere so strictly to the original Buddhist traditions. Hinaya Buddhism only believes in a Buddha (Siddhata) who is considered a normal person. In Mahayana Buddhism one believes in several Buddhas or saints, all of whom are venerated as the highest and immortals.

The similarities between the two forms of Buddhism lie in the principle of liberation from all desires and in the belief in the law of cause and consequence or in the belief in the “four noble truths”.

The influence of Buddhism on the life of Thai people

The traditional education of Thai boys has its roots in the monastery. Monks were and are trainers.

Many customs and traditions, e.g. working together on the rice field, are based on Buddhist horror, as are many festivals such as the Songkran and Loy Kra Thong festivals, which were originally Brahmanic festivals.

The Buddhist influence can also be seen in the functions of the wat, the cultural life of the Thai people and the tradition of entering the monastery.

Art and literature reflect the specific Buddhist worldview of the Thai people.

Sukhothai Historical Park

Geography

Sukhothai is located on the east bank of the Yom River. If you take the train from Bangkok to Phitsanulok and then take the bus to Sukhothai, the distance is 545 kilometers. On the north and west side of the city there are low mountains, which gradually descend to the south and east to the flat land with individual hills.

The old town of Sukhothai is 12 kilometers west of the current town hall. The area has been declared a national historical park.

History

In 1238 the Sukhothai Empire was founded by King Por Khun Sri Intharathit after the Fall of the Khmer. During this time a total of nine kings ruled.

The empire reached its peak during the reign of the third king, Ramkhamhaeng the Great, who exercised his power and the influence of Sukhothai over large areas. After the reign of the 6th King, this power slowly declined, perhaps because of the rise of the southern Ayutthaya.

In 1438 Sukhothai was attached and administered by Ayutthaya. The old town of Sukhothai is 1.4 kilometers by 1.8 kilometers and has 4 entrance gates.

The city has a large lake and 21 historical sights. Within a radius of 5 kilometers there are still 70 historical sites to visit, for the most part religious monuments of Buddhist and Hindu importance.

Buildings

The temples in Sukhothai vary from Prang to Stupa, Mondop to Vihan. The Stupas represent three main styles:

  1. The lotus flower style with three layers, a square base, a high square body and a cone-shaped tip that resembles the lotus flower.
  2. The round bells of Sinhala style. The stupa has a square base, a round bell with a snail-shaped spire.
  3. The Sri Vichai – Sinhala style. The stupa has a square base, a high square body either with or without a niche for setting up Buddha statues. The structure has small stupas in Sinhala style placed on top, surrounded by four small axial stupas.

Most buildings consist of laterite (for the base and column), bricks (for the wall and column base of the statues), wood and earth (for the roof framework and the roof) with individual plates made of porcelain.

Things to see

The Ramkhamhaeng National Museum which is also partly an open-air museum. It was opened to the public in 1964. The museum contains special art articles that were used during the main restoration of the old town.

  • A walking bronze Buddha, placed in the middle of the building. The statue in this position is believed to be typical of the Sukhothai period.
  • On the western terrace there is a meditating stone Buddha from Wat Phra Pai Luang, which clearly shows the Khmer Bayon style.

Porcelain pieces from China found in the crypt of several Stupas.

The open-air museum mostly exhibits works of art made of stone from the Sukhothai period, including the elephant caryatids from Wat Chang Lom and Wat Chang Rob in Sukhothai, Sri Satchanalai, Khampaeng Phet and the model of a kiln from the island of Noi outside Sri Satchanalai.

Wat Maha That

Surrounded by a pond, this temple is considered to be the largest and most important temple in the old city.

Apparently it was a royal temple of the same importance as Wat Phra Sri San Phet during the Ayutthaya period and the temple of the Emerald Buddha in the Bangkok period, since the living quarters of the monks – according to a thorough search by Prince Damrong Rachanupab – are not present in the temple.

There are many buildings on the site of the temple: 200 ruins of stupas, 10 Vihan foundations, 8 vestibules where statues of Buddha are set up and a Bot foundation. Some of these structures were built during the former rule of the Sukhothai king : some were probably built afterwards during later rule periods.

The main monument of this temple is a large Stupa in the lotus flower style, surrounded by four smaller axial stupas of the Srivichai style and four prangs, which imitate the Khmer style.

These Stupa stand on a square base that recedes in three rows, the middle row has niches around the four corners on which there are statues of Buddha.

The bottom row supports your devotion “Taksinawat” meant walk clockwise in a circle. To the east of the main Vihan is a large Vihan in which a huge seated Buddha figure, Phra Sri Sakayamuni, was placed. This is currently in Wat Suthat in Bangkok. Another building is a Mondop, which contains a Buddha figure made of brick and stucco.

Nern Phrasart

East of Wat Maha That, there is a small hill, in the south-western corner of which you can find a foundation made of rectangular brick 1.50 meters high.

It is said that this fragment of a structure is part of the royal palace or building, even a place for royal religious ceremonies of the same importance as Sanam Luang in Bangkok. It is on this hill that Phra Thaen Mananga Sila and the Ramkhamhaeng stone inscription were discovered in 1833.

Phra Taen Mananga Sila

A large smooth stone slab 1.2 meters wide, 1.6 meters long and 3 centimeters deep. According to the Ramkhamhaeng stone inscription, King Ramkhamhaeng the Great used it as a seat in public, where he dealt with state affairs on normal weekdays, while monks preached on it on Buddhist holidays.

The stone slab is now being kept in the museum of the Temple of the Emerald Buddha.

The Ramkhamhaeng stone inscription

is a square polished stone block 45 centimeters wide and 1.11 meters high. Thai script from the Sukhothai period can be read on four sides. The interpretation of the inscription was King Rama IV initiative and was later continued by Professor George Codes.

This stone inscription as well as other discovered objects can be seen in the National Museum in Bangkok.

Wat Sri Sa Wai

is located southwest of Wat Mahathat, protected behind the great laterite wall. The main pool inside the temple is behind another row of brick walls, surrounded by a stream. This prang has three towers; The middle tower is 20 meters high, while the other two have a height of 12 meters.

The temple was probably an earlier Hindu shrine, as a stone fall with a sign of the Hindu god Vishnu on Naga and a siva lingam made of bronze were discovered during the restoration in 1907.

However, a Lopburi-style Buddha statue was also found on the Vihan, which indicates the change of the shrine to a Buddhist temple at an unknown point in time.

Wat Trapang Ngern

is located on the west side of Wat Maha That, whose large stupa is very similar in style to that in Wat Maha That. It has a lotus flower tip and a base with Buddha images that were found here, all of which are in a walking position.

The statue of King Ramkhamhaeng, erected in 1969, represents the king on a Mananga Sila plate. Episodes from his life are depicted on the high base.

Wat Phra Pai Luang

can be found about one kilometer north of the city wall. The main structure here is the Prang with three towers in the Khmer Bayon style from the time of King Jayavarman VII (1181 – 1217).

The Prang has four vestibules, three of which are only a facade and one has an entrance to the Prang. The stucco work over the doorway is considered to be particularly fine. In front of the Prang, the foundation of a Vihan with a laterite column foot remains.

There is also a ruin of a Stupa with niches on four sides. However, all the Buddha figures in it are already damaged. The stupa probably dates from the earlier Sukhothai period, as the Buddha statues have characteristics of both Chieng Saen and Sukhothai.

A gallery extends around the Stupa, the other side of which contains a brick Mondop with stucco Buddha figures. On the site there are other smaller Stupas of different styles, maybe up to 30.

This grouping of structures suggests that the square was once a Hindu shrine. According to Prince Damrong, the place was probably a Khmer city from before Sukhothai times. After the overthrow of the Khmer, the Thais built a bigger city elsewhere.

Wat Sri Chum

is located about two kilometers northwest of the city wall. Instead of a Stupa or Prang, the temple has a Mondop as the main structure. And this is what makes him remarkable.

The Mondop was probably built in the 17th century and contains a large seated Buddha whose characteristics are very similar to “Phra Atchana” mentioned in the Ramkhamhaeng stone inscription.

This Buddha statue, Phra Atchana, represents Buddha taming the Mara. The knee span is 11.40 meters. The Mondop itself is a square structure 32 meters wide and 15 meters high with walls 3 meters deep.

The left wall has a tunnel that extends to the top of the back wall. The ceiling of the tunnel depicts stories from the Jataka, which can be seen on engraved stone slabs with texts in Sukhothai characteristics. There was also another tunnel on the right wall that recently fell over.

The part of the roof, which is said to have been made of wood, no longer exists. Only the wall has been preserved. In front of the Mondop you can find part of a Vihan in the form of a brick wall. A smaller one is further north with a restored brick and stucco Buddha statue.

Wat Sa Phan Hin

This temple is located on a mountain shoulder of 200 meters Height, about 1.5 kilometers west of the city of Sukhothai. A slate path leads up to the temple courtyard, where a brick Vihan stands on column feet made of laterite. In the middle of the back wall, there is a stucco and brick Buddha figure of 12.50 meters in a forgiving position, looking east.

It is believed that the Buddha statue is “Phra Atchana”, which is mentioned in the stone inscription.

Wat Chetupon

This temple is located about 800 meters south of the old town. It was built sometime between 1292-1412. The temple area is surrounded by a wall on which a Mondop and the foundation of a Vihan stand. The four sides of the Mondop wall depict Buddha in four positions.

  • Walking Buddha on the eastern wall.
  • Seated Buddha on the northern wall.
  • Standing Buddha at the western one.
  • Finally, a reclining Buddha on the southern side.

The balustrade of the Mondop and the gateway are made of stone. In front of the Mondop there is still the foundation of a Vihan. The bot itself is located outside this complex south of the temple.

Sri Satchanalai Historical Park

Geography

Sri Satchanalai no longer has independent status and is now part of the city of Sukhothai. It is located on the right bank of the Yom River, about 70 kilometers from the old town of Sukhothai on the way to Uttaradit. In earlier times there was a road connecting these two cities.

The city is surrounded on three sides by three rows of walls. On the side of the river there is only a row of walls. Seen from the outside, Sri Satchanalai is about 100-120 meters wide and 1800 acres in size.

A long chain of hills runs through the northern part of the city, on the two peaks of which Wat Khao Suwan Kiri and Wat Phanom Ploeng are located. Sri Satchanalai is also known for the rapids in the Yom River called “kaeng Luang”

History

In the 11th century there was an ancient city called “Chalieng” which was no less than 900 years old. According to Prince Damrong Rachanupab, the city center of Chalieng was probably around Wat Phra Sri Rattanamaha That, which was about one kilometer south of Sri Satchanalai.

During the Sukhothai period, Sri Satchanalai served as the second capital after Sukhothai. For this reason, the two cities were mentioned together as sri Satchanalai Sukhothai, as it is written in the three stone inscriptions, the stone inscription Ramkhamhaeng, the inscription Wat Sri Chum and the inscription Nakorn Chum. Sri satchanalai was the crown prince’s residence for a period during the 4th reign of Sukhothai.

The city gradually lost its importance. In the Ayutthaya period, Sri Sat Chanalai was under the administration of Ayutthaya and was called Sawankalok.

Art in Sri Satchanalai

Art areas in Sri Satchanalai are mostly from the Sukhothai style. Several Stupas as well as Prang can be seen in temples that represent different styles. The lotus flower style, the rounded Sinhala style or the Sivichai – Sinhala style. The Prangs can only be visited in two temples, namely in wat Phra Sri Rattana Maha That and Wat Chao chan.

The Buddha statues mostly belong to the Sukhothai period. Other found art objects can be found in the form of rishi, angels, people, animals or imaginary animals, as well as pottery and earthenware.

Attractions in Sri Satchanalai

A total of 137 historical cities can be found in this city. Noteworthy are Wat Chang Lom, Wat Chedi Chet Thaew, Wat Nang Phaya, Wat Kao Panom Ploeng and Wat Kao Suwan kiri within the city wall. Wat Phra Sri Rattana Maha That Chalieng, Wat Chao Chan and a ceramic kiln outside the city can also be mentioned.

Wat Chang Lom

The start of construction of this temple – according to the stone inscription – was fixed on 1285 and was done on behalf of King Ramkhamhaeng. Construction ended in 1291.

The most important object in this temple is a large bell-shaped Stupa in the Sinhala style made of laterite. The square footprint of 31 meters has three recessed stands, decorated with figures such as elephants, niches containing stucco Buddha statues and a balustrade.

The front staircase leads to the main part of the stupa. A 50 meter long wall closes the Stupa down on four sides. Real entrances are the front and back doors, while the other two are just facades. In front of the Stupa you can still find the foundation of a rough Vihan and ruins of other small stupas and a small Vihan.

Wat Chedi Chet Thaew

is located about 30 meters south of Wat Chang Lom. The temple stands behind two rows of walls and has four entrances. The most important part of the wat is a Stupa in the lotus flower style on a square base of 13.5 meters.

Around this Stupa are smaller Stupas of different styles. Notable among them is one on the north side, which maintains a niche with a Buddha figure under the Sri Vichai style Naga. In front of the stupa is a large Vihan, surrounded by a low wall. Outside this wall are the ruins of a Bot and a Mondop.

Wat Nang Phaya

is located the furthest south of Sri Satchanalai city. The temple is surrounded by a laterite wall with three entrances to the south and east. A sight in the wat is a base of 16.5 meters.

A veranda leads to the interior of the stupa. In front of the round stupa there is a large Vihan made of laterite, the main wall of which still has stucco decorations with floral motifs from the Ayutthaya period.

Wat Khao Phanom Ploeng

Was built on a 20 meter high hill north of the city. Laterite stairs lead to the temple. A Sinhala-style Stupa with a pavilion and Vihan in front of it is a historical attraction in this temple. Behind the main Stupa there are three smaller Stupas in a row. Another Stupa is located between the pavilion and the Vihan. It has a laterite niche and was known among the locals as the shrine of “Chaomae La – ong Samlie”.

Wat Khao Suwan Kiri

is located on the second small hill, 28 meters high and north of the city, about 28 meters from Kao Phanom ploeng. A round Stupa in Sinhala style on a square base area of 44 meters wide is considered to be worth seeing. The stupa has niches on four sides. In front of the main stupa there is a Vihan and behind it there are other smaller stupas in Sinhala style.

Wat Phra Sri Rattana Mahathat Chalieng

This temple is located on the Yom River, about 1 kilometer south of the city of Sri Satchanalai. The locals call it Wat Phra Prang.The main monument of this temple is a large laterite Prang, which was probably built on the original Khmer Prang during the reign of King Borom Trai Lokanart in the Ayutthaya period.

The first restoration took place in the time of King Borom Kot. A large Vihan in front of the Prang contains the main Buddha statue, built in the Sukhothai style. To the right of this figure is another stepping brick and stucco buddha apparently from the earlier Sukhothai period. It is considered to be one of the finest works of art to date from this era.

There are several Stupas around the Prang and Vihan. The whole group, including a niche with a Buddha figure under the Naga, is surrounded by a wall of large blocks of laterite, decorated with woodwork. The western and eastern gates are made up of four-faced Brahma heads in the Bayon style. There are also figures of Devas, dancing girls and Rahu taking in the moon. All of these figures are hallmarks of Khmer art.

In front of the east gate is a Bot that was built on the old Bot foundation. This Bot stands behind two monks’ apartments known as “Phra Ruang Phra Lue”. The buildings probably represent King Ramkhamhaeng and Phraya Lithai. Behind the Prang there is a large octagonal Stupa foundation in rubble, which clearly shows the Mon style. This Stupa is called “Phra mutao”.

Another Vihan behind the large Stupa, which locals refer to as the Vihan of the Second Brothers, contains two large stucco Buddha statues. Hence its name. This temple probably functioned as a religious place of the Khmer in the past. It was later taken over by the Thais, who adapted the building for their purpose and added some structures.

Wat Chao Chan

is located west of Wat Phra Sri Rattana Mahathat Chalieng. The Khmer style Prang probably dates from the time of King Jayavarman VII and was used as a shrine for Mahayana Buddhism. However, the temple became a religious site of Theravad Buddhism in the Sukhothai period.

Ceramic kiln

The ceramic kilns found in Sri Satchanalai are found in Ban Pa Yang and Ban Koh Noi.

  • The kiln in Ban Pa Yang
  • is located about 500 meters north of the city wall in the district of Ban Pa Yang. 21 closed kilns had already been found here, mostly 2-4 meters in height. This type of closed kiln is called Tao Pratun.

    It is made of brick and has a shape that resembles a ship’s roof. Usually such a stove is 2 meters wide, 5 meters long and is divided into three parts, namely as a place to place pots and plates, chimney and stove part, which can be up to 1,200 – 1,600 c. can heat up. Stoneware is produced here.

  • The kiln in Ban Koh Noi
  • is located near the Yom River, 4 kilometers north of the kiln in Ban Pa Yang, in the Ban Koh Noi district. Up to now around 150 kilns of two shapes have been found in the vicinity of 250 kilometers. Tao Pra Thun for the production of the stoneware mentioned above and Tao Ta Krap.

    This type of oven can be both round and square. It is about 1-2 meters wide and is divided into two parts. The upper part is used as an installation room, the lower part is the stove. Between these two parts there is a plate full of holes, round or square depending on the shape of the oven. The heat comes up through these holes. Since the heat of the oven is limited to 600-800 c, the oven is suitable for the production of earthenware.

Ayutthaya Historical Park

Ayutthaya
Geography

Located in the central plain , the land was particularly fertile for rice cultivation. Ayutthaya is 72 km by train from Bangkok and 82 km on the highway (route Bangkok – Wangnoi – Ayutthaya). Ayutthaya is topographically located in a river bed.

The city itself is almost an island, as it is surrounded by the rivers on all sides: by the Chao Phraya in the west and south, in the east by the Pa sak and in the north by a small body of canal, where the Lopburi River once flowed before its course changed.

History

King U – Thong made Ayutthaya the capital of his Kingdom in 1350, but the island had been settled for a long time : Several large temples document this, as areas that clearly date back from before 1350 were found in them.

For example, it is noted in the chronicles of the north about the large Buddha figure in Wat Phanan choeng that it was erected in 1324.

The kingdom of Ayutthaya existed for 417 years and finally fell in an invasion of Burma in 1767. The fact that the city lasted so long is due to its unique and well-chosen location.

The city was not only protected by rivers on all sides, but also by city walls that were 20 meters high and 5 meters thick. In addition, the low-lying land in this river area was regularly flooded, so that, a long siege was impossible.

Things to see in Ayutthaya
Wat Yai Chai Mong Kol

On the east bank of the Pa Sak, south-east of the city. Presumably this temple was built in 1357 by king U – Thong especially for monks who had received the consecration after studying Buddhism in Ceylon.

Later after his victory over the Prince of Burma, King Naresuan had a large Stupa set up in this temple but that is unclear that he order the new Stupa to be built or to have an old one restored.

In any case, the stupa was named Chedi Chaiya Mongkol, although the local simply called it Chedi Yai.

Eventually it was renamed Chedi Yai Chaiya Mongkol. After the Fall of Ayutthaya, the temple was deserted until some monks came to it as accommodation in the 1957 rainy season.

They built new and reconstructed old parts of the temple in order to create living quarters and meditation cells. Later the Bot and the Vihan were also restored to their present state.

The Stupa corresponds to the round Chinese style as it was popular at the time of King Borom Trai Lokanart, but it also bears traces of the Sukhothai style.

The base has eight edges and measures a total of 22 meters. A balustrade encompasses the entire stupa and in turn carries four axial stupas in the corners. The height from the balustrade to the top is 60 meters.

Wat Mahathat

This temple was built by either the 2nd or 4th King of Ayutthaya as a Scripture for the holy Buddha relics. The Prang of Wat Mahathat is generally regarded as a copy of an Ayutthaya Prang and still clearly bears traces of the Khmer style.

Nowadays , one of the highlights here is the sand stone Buddha ‘s head stuck in the Bo-tree root.

Wat Phra Sri San Phet

This temple was the largest and most beautiful in Ayutthaya, of the same importance as that of the Emerald Buddha in Bangkok.

It was built right next to the royal palace, was used exclusively for royal religious ceremonies and did not contain any living quarters for monks.

About a century after King U – Thong founded Ayutthaya, King Borom Trai Lok Nart built a new Palace a little further north and converted the old palace grounds into a temple floor.

His son and successor had a standing Buddha built in gold there, which was named “Phra Sri Sanphet”. This was later transferred to the temple.

The three large Stupas in the temple contain the ashes of King Borom Trai Lok Nart and that of his two sons, who also became King of Ayutthaya.

The Royal palace

The ruins we see today belong to the palace built by King Borom Trai Lokanart, which was later expanded. Ayutthaya was destroyed to rubble in 1767 when the Burmese army defeated the city.

The following Building are just the ruins left & was named according to the documents and proved.  

  • The Suriyat Amarin Hall
  • This was built by King Narai near the northern city wall. It had four gables – entirely Thai style – and the floor was raised so that the king could watch the boats on the Lopburi River.

  • The Sanphet Prasart Hall
  • King Borom Trai Lokanart had this built in 1448 as the largest and most important hall for state events as well as for his personal use.

  • The Chakrarat Phaichayon Hall
  • Built in 1632 near Wat Phra Sri San Phet. It had three gables and was used by the king to watch military exercises and parades.

  • The Vihan Somdet Hall
  • This had a Prang tower and was built in 1643 by King Prasart Thong.

  • The Banyong Rattanat Hall
  • A four-gabled hall in the middle of the palace lake. The later kings of Ayutthaya held her in high esteem.

  • The Trimuk Hall
  • A building made of wood and ceramics by Rama V of Bangkok.

  • The Arms hall

    A building on the western shore of the lake near the Banyong Rattanat Hall. It was probably used for weapons training. It later became an audience building when the king moved into residence in the Banyong Rattanat Hall.

The Vihan Phra Mongkol Bopit

Located south of Wat Phra Sri San Phet. This Vihan is preferred by visitors because it is easily accessible and has a large parking lot. In the Vihan there is a large Buddha in Mara position, the Phra Mongkol Bopit.

The figure is 12.45 meters tall and has a knee span of 9.55 meters. It was built of brick and plaster and is about 15 cm. Thick bronze covered.

The age of the figure is unknown, judging by the art style it should belong to the early Ayutthaya period, because there are clear traces of both the U-Thong and the Sukhothai style.

A chronicle says that the figure was moved to its current location from the east wing of the palace at the royal demand. When the Vihan was burned down on the Fall of Ayutthaya in 1767, the roof fell on the figure and damaged the head and right arm.

Rama V had it repaired, but the Vihan was left in its condition until a major restoration program was undertaken in 1955 – with contributions from both the Thai and Burmese governments. The work was supervised by the Fine Arts Department of Thailand. In 1958 the restoration was completed.

The King U-Thong statue

It stands halfway between Wat Phra Sri San Phet and Phra Ram Lake. It was unveiled by His Majesty King Rama IX on June 24, 1970.

The statue is made of green bronze and shows King U-Thong in the costume of an early Ayutthaya king, with a knot in his hair and a sword in hand.

The elephant’s kraal

North of the city island, on the bank of the Lopburi River. The kraal was built under the rule of King Maha Chakra Phat.

The kraal is a square-shaped fence with a double wall. The inner wall consists of 226 thick posts, which are fastened close to each other in the ground and leave two openings free: One for the “Baitelephant”, which is supposed to attract the wild herd of conspecifics, and one through which a captured elephant can be led out.

The outer wall on the western side is particularly wide, so that it could serve the king as a raised platform from where he could watch the elephant hunt. There was a wooden pavilion for the royal family and their guests at this point.

Elephant hunts for royal guests were held three times during the Bangkok period

  • 1883 for the German Duke Johann Albert
  • 1891 for the Russian Tsar Nicholas II
  • 1962 when His Majesty King Rama IX hosted the Danish ruling couple
Wat Phanan Choeng

The temple stands on a small hill south-east of the city at a point from where you can see the mouth of the Pa Sak in the Chao Phra Ya. There is no reliable indication of who built this temple. Legend has it that the King built it at his wife’s cremation site.

According to the chronicles, the large Buddha figure in the Vihan was built in 1324, which would mean that it would be 26 years older than Ayutthaya.

The statue was formerly called Phra Puttha Chao Phanan Choeng. However, Rama IV renamed it Phra Phutta Trai Rattana Nayok after his temple restoration.

The locals only call it Luang Por To. The effigy is a gilded brick and plaster Buddha in Mara position. The knee span is 14.10 meters, the height is 19 meters. It is one of the largest Buddha images in Ayutthaya.

Wat Ratchaburana

Located near Wat Maha That. This temple was built in 1424 by King Borom Racha II (Chao Sam Phra Ya) at the cremation site of his two brothers, who both died fighting each other for the throne. The ruins of the foundation walls show that the temple must have been very large.

The early Ayutthaya Prang, which is still standing, has a beautiful stucco. Wall paintings in the crypt of Prang – in red and gold – show a striding Buddha and a meditating Buddha against a background of heavenly beings and flowers.

As in Wat Ratchaburana, the Fine Arts Department found valuable gold ornaments in many different form & style  in large numbers within the Prang crypt, such as royal jewelry, gold Buddha amulets etc.  that some were used to fund the foundation of the Chao Sam Phra Ya National Museum.

The Chao Sam Phra Ya National Museum

This was opened in 1961 by His Majesty King Rama IX. It is named after the founder of Wat Ratchaburana, where the valuable treasure  were used to fund the museum come from.

The interesting items include:

  • A stone Buddha from the Dvaravadi period
  • A very large bronze Buddha head that documents the advanced standard in the art of bronze sculpture.
  • Collections of old carved door panels and wooden objects found in various Ayutthaya temples,
  • Buddha figures of different styles and from different times.
  • Buddha relics (kept in the west wing of the upper floor)
Wat Suwan Dararam

On the southwest corner of the city island. As a temple of the Chakri Dynasty, it is remarkable in that it was founded by the father of Rama I of Bangkok when Ayutthaya was still the capital of the empire.

After ascending the throne in Bangkok, Rama I had the temple restored and renamed Suwan Dararam in honor of his parents. The temple contains the following objects of interest.

Inside the Bot there are murals painting of celestial beings on the top of the wall and of Jataka stories on the bottom. The paintings on the wall opposite the main Buddha statue show the Buddha in Mara position with Mother of the Earth as witness: the back wall depicts scenes from heaven and hell.

The main statue itself is an enlarged version of the Emerald Buddha.

The Vihan. Built by Rama IV of Bangkok. The main character is a stone version of the Emerald Buddha. The wall paintings in the Vihan were done in 1931 at the behest of Rama VII and are valued as masterpieces of the artist as well as of the whole Bangkok era.

They depict episodes from the life of King Naresuan.

The Fine Arts Department has attempted to reproduce these paintings on the occasion of the Great King’s victory at the Don Chedi Monument in Supanburi Province. However, this project did not have the same success.

Wat Na Phra Mehn

This temple is located north of the city wall on the other bank of the Lopburi River, opposite the Royal Palace. The age of the temple is unknown. Although its name indicates the place of cremation of an Ayutthaya king.

The temple was mentioned for the first time in the chronicle in connection with the construction of the king’s pavilion. This was to be built for the conclusion of a peace treaty at a place between Wat Na Phra Mehn and Wat Hasdaram.

After the Fall of Ayutthaya, this temple escaped destruction, but was nonetheless left to decay until Rama III ordered its restoration in 1838.

Things to see in the temple

The Bot 50 meters long and 16 meters wide, making it the largest in Ayutthaya. The early Ayutthaya style is reflected in the narrow, elongated shape of the windows and the presence of pillars within the Bot room.

The walls used to be painted, but the pictures were destroyed by bleaching. The main statue is a bronze crowned Buddha in Mara position, the largest crowned Buddha figure of all.

The Vihan Noi built in 1838. The main character is a stone Buddha who used to stand in Wat Maha That. This green stone statue is from the same period as the four white stone figures.

Originally these images were found in Wat Phra Mahn in the province of Na Khon Pathom and come from the Dvaravadi period.

Wat Phukao Thong

The main Stupa of this temple can be seen from a distance. The temple is built on a junction from the Ayutthaya Ang -Thong highway. It was built in 1387 by Koenig U – Thong ‘s son Ramesuan.

The Burmese king Burengnong had the Stupa built in 1569 on the occasion of his victory over Ayutthaya. King Borom Kot ordered its restoration and stylistic adjustment.

Today it shows two architectural styles, the Mon style in front of the base to the balustrade and the Thai style from the balustrade to the top.

The Palace in Bang Pa In

At Bang Pa In there is a small island in the Chao Phra Ya river on which there are some houses. This was the birth place of one of the kings of Ayutthaya. When he ascended the throne. He dedicated his mother house to a temple – Wat Chumpon Nikayaram and built a palace and a lake on the island in 1632.

He gave the Palace the name -Eisawan Thipya Art Hall – From this time on, the Ayutthaya kings visited Bang Pa In regularly, as it was easy and quick to get from the capital.

For Bangkok’s King there was no visit to Bang Pa In until the reign of Rama IV. He visited Ayutthaya several times and stopped once in Bang Pa In.

He found the Palace and the lake in a dilapidated state, although the wooden structure still looked good and the mango groves looked cool and pleasant.

So a restoration program was undertaken that also included Wat Chumpon Nikayaram.

King Rama V visited Bang Pa In regularly. He built a few more halls and hosted foreign visitors here. All the buildings that can be seen today are from his time.

  • The Varophat Phiman Hall 
  • This Corinthian style ( ancient Greek and Roman architecture ) hall was built in 1876. The entrance leads into the audience hall and then into the royal apartments. Later guests of the king were accommodated here.

    The hall contains some interesting areas, such as old weapons, beautiful stone figures and oil paintings about historical events. In the audience room the throne is under a “royal umbrella” On the walls hang oil paintings, one of which shows Rama V in full state.

    Rare pieces are large vases of Korean and Japanese craftsmanship that were sent to the king as gifts. In the next room there are paintings, vases and pieces of crystal of European origin.

  • The Utthayarn Phumisatien Hall
  • Unfortunately, it was completely destroyed by fire in 1938; only the ruins of the prayer tower remained. Luckily, later with the initiated of the Queen Sirikit this Palace building was rebuilt . This was one of the favorite buildings of Rama V, where he also stayed with foreign visitors. 

  • The Vehat Chamroon Hall
  • It was built in the Chinese style in 1889 under the supervision of Chinese traders. A brother of the king acted as advisor and supervisor. Also one of Rama V’s favorite buildings; here too he received the foreign guests.

    Interesting pieces are  walls outside the building On the south side; They represent Chinese dragons that are supposed to scare away evil spirits.

    The entrance to the lower part of the house leads through three doors, each of which is decorated with carvings. The floor is covered with ceramic tiles imported from China, depicting mythical Chinese birds, trees, fish and other animals.

    On the south wall of the building there are 17 panels with Chinese poems that were installed there by order of Rama VI. All pillars and planks are decorated with carved and gilded figures. The top plank bears the name of the building in Thai, with the letters stylized in such a way that they look similar to Chinese.

    In the north of the hall there is a marble slab with black and white Tao signs and a throne in the Chinese style. There are tables for officials on both sides. The rear area is reserved for the women in the courtyard.

    A narrow staircase leads to the upper floor. This is divided into three sections. The middle section contains three royal seats standing side by side.

    On the two outer ones there are panels with the initials Rama V and Rama IV as well as their queens, and on the middle seat there is a Buddha figure. The tablets were made by order of Rama VII, and a ceremony is held here every year on the occasion of the Chinese New Year.

    The south wing contains the royal study. The bookcases here are in the Chinese style of carved wood with gold decorations. The north wing contains; the queen’s room, the king’s and a bathroom.

  • Ho Vithun Thasana
  • An observation tower in the lake in front of the Vehat Chamroon Hall.

  • Ho Hemmonthian Thevarat
  • This Shrine was built in 1880 and dedicated to King Prasart Thong, who originally built the Bang Pa In Palace.

  • Wat Nivet Thammapravat
  • This temple is on a small island opposite the palace. It was used when the king’s family moved to Bang Pa In. Construction lasted from 1876 to 1878.

    The main character is a Buddha in meditation posture with a knee span of 47 cm. And a height of 104 cm. The official name is – Phra Phuttanarumnon Thanmophat.

    The temple is remarkable in that the style of the building corresponds to that of a church. The bot has a tall tower and Gothic windows with painted panes.

Lopburi

Geography

Lopburi Province is located in the eastern part of the central region. The distance to Bangkok is 154 kilometers by road. The extreme west of the province is formed by a plain through which the Lopburi River flows. The north and east are mainly hill country.

The city of Lopburi is located on the left bank of the river – this in turn flows into the Pasak at Ayutthaya.

History

Lopburi is an old city with historical significance. A large number of areas from the Dvaravdi period (7-11 centuries) and from the Lopburi period (7-13 centuries) have been found here.

During the Ayutthaya period it became an important outpost of the kingdom. Its importance lasted until the Bangkok period.

The people who originally settled on Lopburi were the “Lavah” who belonged to the tribe of the Mon. This is why the city was given the name “Lavah”, which became “Lavahpura” and finally “Lopburi”.

When the Khmer advanced west, Lavah fell around 950 and was declared the capital of the Khmer possessions in the Chao Phra Ya plain.

In the 14th century, the Thais became strong enough to retake Lavah from the Khmer.

The chronicle says that King U-Thong appointed his son, Prince Ramesuan, to rule Lopburi in 1350.

So it became the second most important city after the Capital.The prince had two city walls built to make it a fortress against enemy troops.

These walls were torn down during the reign of King Mahachakrapat (1549 – 1568) in case, if the city fell victim to the enemy and could thus be used against Ayutthaya.

Lopburi lost its importance after Prince Ramesuan left the city to become king in Ayutthaya.

It gained weight again during the reign of King Narais (1656 – 1688), who restored the city with the help of French and Italian architects, whose influence can still be seen in the structure of the palace and fortresses.

King Narais stayed in Lopburi until his death. After his rule, the entire administration was moved back to Ayutthaya and Lopburi sank into insignificance until 1863, when King Rama IV of Bangkok ordered a major restoration program and had the Piman Mongkut Hall converted into his residence.

After Thailand became a democracy, Lopburi became a military center. The part east of the railway forms the new town, while the part west of the railway contains most of the cities of historical interest.

Places to Visit
Phra Narai Ratchanivet

This palace was built at the time of King Narai, but it was only given its official name later by King Rama IV after he had it restored. Phra Narai Ratchanivet is surrounded by thick walls.

The entrance shows a mixture of Hindu and Khmer art. The area of the palace is divided into three sections – the outer courtyard, the middle courtyard and the inner courtyard.

The water Tank

The water supply for the palace was ensured by a pipe system from the “Talay Chubsorn” an inland lake some distance away. The water stayed in an opened Tank.

The Royal Warehouses (Phra Klang Suparat)

A collection of 12 buildings near the water point where royal property was stored.

In the old days, business with foreign traders had to be carried out through the Royal Chancellery. Now only ruins are left of the twelve buildings.

Stable

These were used for the elephants and horses in royal possession and were built near the wall of the central courtyard.

Tuk Phra Chao Hao

At the south-eastern corner of the outer courtyard, a building with a rectangular base, 10 meters wide and 20 meters long.

Only the walls are still standing today, but the decoration on the doors and windows can still be seen.

The building was probably used for King Narai’s audiences. Its historical significance lies in an affair of treason against the Tron, which was planned here while the king was seriously ill in Sutthasawan Hall.

Hall of the Royal Guests

North of the Tuk Phra Chao Hao near the water point. A French style building that probably served as accommodation for royal guests.

The Chanthorn Phisan Hall

A Thai style building constructed in 1665 and used by King Narai until Sutthasawan Hall was completed. Later King Narais audience hall.

Restoration work under the rule of King Rama the Fourth has ensured that it is still in good condition and can now be used as a museum. Most of the exhibits are Buddha images.

A collection of halls

Built in 1863 by Rama IV for his residence. Four buildings belong to this group. The Piman MongKut Hall for the Royal Suite, the Sutthivinichai Hall, which was used for meetings with government officials and discussing state affairs, and the Aksorn-Sastrakom Hall for the royal office. King Rama V gave this hall to the city as a place for a town hall.

  1. The Dusitsawan Thanya Mahaprasart Hall
  2. Built by King Narai for foreign audiences. The structure was a mix of Thai and Western architecture. The front part was in French style, the back part in Thai style.

    The French ambassador in King Narai’s time reported that the hall had mirrors on the walls imported from France and the ceiling was divided into four geometrical areas decorated with gold floral motifs and Chinese crystals.

    In the middle of the hall is the throne from which King Narai received the foreign ambassadors.

  3. The women’s chambers
  4. Behind the Dusitsawan Thanya Mahaprasart are some small buildings that were used to house the female members of the Royal Family when Rama IV visited Lopburi.

  5. Sutthasawan Hall 
  6. The Sutthsawan Hall, the King Narai residence was built some distance from other buildings. There are probably gardens in the large surrounding area, as the traces of fountains can still be seen there.

    King Narai lived in this palace until his death. At a time when he was very ill, he learned of the conspiracy against his throne.

    In order to create a shelter for his followers, he had the palace made into a temple.

    Therefore, when Rama IV was planning to restore the palace, he had to cancel this order and build another temple to replace it in the city.

Phra Prang Sam Yot

Close to the railway line. The structure consists of three prangs in a row. The decorations in either section are still sharp and clear down to the last detail, while the lower section is not as distinct – it may have been repaired in King Narai’s time.

The three-tier prang was built under the rule of Jayavarman VII (1181-1217), who adhered to Mahayana Buddhism and had a number of Buddhist monuments built, especially Phra Prang Sam Yot in Lopburi and Prasart Muang Singh in Kanchanaburi.

The function of the three prangs in a row is that the middle tower is dedicated to buddha, the southern bodhisattva Avalokitasavara and the northern Prajnaparamit, the goddess of wisdom in Mahayana, who is sometimes called the mother of the Buddhas.

King Narai had a Bot built east of the middle pavilion and set up a large stone statue of the Buddha as the main figure. Now she is in the open.

Prang Khaek

In the center of the old city. This prang was previously a Hindu shrine that was built in the 10th century and is now considered the oldest Khmer prang, which was found in the central regions and is 300 years older than Phra Prang Sam Yot.

It consists of three towers Brick, but these are – unlike Phra Prang Sam Yot – not connected to each other. Only the middle tower is still standing, of the two sides only the foundation walls can be seen. The door frame of the middle tower resembles a wooden frame.

The brick decorations inside the tower are made in the style of the 10th century.

House of the official guests

This was built under the rule of King Narai to accommodate foreign ambassadors who came to royal audiences.The system is divided into three sections. The eastern end forms the chapel for the ambassadors and the Christian clergy in Lopburi, the central part the living quarters, and the eastern end the main hall. Behind it is the water point.

The Phra Kan Shrine

The shrine contains a stone statue of Vishnu with a Buddha head. Before that, the statue of Vishnu stood headless until someone put a Buddha head on it. This piece is very well known and is highly revered in Lopburi.

The tamed monkeys that are present in large numbers and use the shrine as a place of residence are a special tourist attraction.

Wat Phra Sri Rattana Mahathat

This temple is the oldest and most famous in Lopburi. The main rank is the highest in the city. It had previously been assumed that it was from the same time as Angor Wat, which means that it would belong to the late 12th century.

According to more recent findings, however, it is from the 14th century, the time when the Thais had conquered “Lavah” from the Khmer. The style of Prang belongs to the U – Thong school.

In front of the Prang is a Vihan that was built under the rule of King Narai. This very large Vihan has Thai doors and Gothic windows. There are also Stupas of different styles in temples.

The Kraisorn Siharat Hall

Commonly known as Phra Thinang Yen. This hall is located outside the city and was built by King Narai on what was once an island in an inland lake, the Talay Chubsorn. The lake has now dried up. Only the walls and the foundation walls remain of the hall. To the side there were small rooms which certainly served as accommodation for the king’s servants.

King Narai’s statue

This statue stands in the center of the “Thepstri circle”. It shows the king with a sword in his right hand, looking east. The base bears inscriptions that attest to his achievements. The statue was created in 1966 for over a million baht.

Saraburi

Buddha footprint in Saraburi
Geography

A Buddha’s footprint is located in Wat Phra Phuttabat in Saraburi Province, 20 km. from Lopburi on the Saraburi – Lopburi route. It is very important to Buddhists as it is located on natural rocky ground, while the Buddha footprints, commonly found in many temples, are imitations of various materials, from wood to metal.

Wat Phra Phuttabat

It is a royal temple of the first order, as is Wat Phra Pathom Chedi in the province of Nakorn Pathom.

History

The footprint was discovered during the reign of King Song Tham (1610-1628). A group of monks went on pilgrimage to Ceylon to pay homage to the Buddha footprint on Mount Sumonkun.

They learned from Ceylonese monks that such an imprint could also be made in Thailand.

After hearing about it, the king ordered his officials to search the whole country for the print.

At that time a hunter in the Saraburi area who was chasing a wounded Deer found a large, unusually shaped hole in a rock in a hilly area that was filled with water.

The shape of the hole looked like the footprint of a very large person. The hunter reported his find to the mayor, who forwarded the message to the capital. King Song Tham himself came to inspect the Find and saw certain signs of a Buddha imprint.

Therefore the place was declared a holy Buddhist site and a mondop was built over the footprint, on the surrounding land a hill on which the imprint was found was renamed “Mount Suwan Banpot or Mount Satchapan Kiri.

Worth seeing inside the temple

The Mondop, which currently covers the footprint, was built by Rama I and replaced the one from the Ayutthaya period. This had been destroyed when Ayutthaya was besieged and some Chinese soldiers took the opportunity to steal valuable items from the temple and burned the Mondop to melt the gold in the protective roof over the imprint.

  1. Eight door panels They are the work of artists from the time of Rama I and replace those destroyed during the temple council.
  2. The canopy over the footprint. Also from the time of Rama I and also a replacement for the original that was destroyed by fire.
  3. Buddha footprint. It is a natural impression in pumice stone. He is 50 cm. Wide, 150 cm. Long and 30 cm. Deep. It has now been covered with gold, but the ground surface still reveals the natural rock.

The Bot was built by King Songtham and has been repaired several times. The end of the gable shows an image of Vishnu. The door panels bear the royal emblems of the first four rulers Bangkok, the U – nalom, Garuda, the Prasart and the crown.

Vihans

There are several Vihan here, in detail

  1. The lower Vihan (Vihan sounded long) In this Vihan the gifts of the Chinese are stored.
  2. The middle Vihan and the upper Vihan. This was used to wait for offerings from the believers to Buddha. However, for security reasons, the valuable objects were transferred to the Vihan Luang, so that these two Vihans now only accommodate a few Buddha images.
  3. The Vihan Phra Palelayka. This Vihan contains various Buddha figures, the Buddha in Palaylai, the Resting Buddha and Buddhas in other positions ‘
  4. The Vihan Luang. A very large Vihan with a door and window panels which, like the bot, show the emblems of the four first rulers of Bangkok. Originally this Vihan was set up as accommodation for the female members of the royal family on their pilgrimages to Saraburi, but later the building was used as a sleeping place for monks who came here and as a place of worship for Buddhists on holidays. Today it serves as a temple museum. Among the valuable offerings that are kept here is a gold model of the footprint.
The Vihan Phra Buddha Batr Sri Roi

Literally translated this means: Vihan of the four footprints of the Buddhas. The model of four prints was made according to the belief of Theravade Buddhism, according to which four Buddhas have already been born and one is still expected. The four tracks are therefore designed as four impressions standing on top of one another.

The changing pavilion

Located at the bottom of a staircase that leads to the Mondop. This pavilion was built under the rule of King Song Tham, but has been repaired and restored several times. It was the place where the king used to change before going to worship.

Nakhon Pathom

Phra Pathom Chedi and Phuttamonthon

Phra Pathon Chedi, the largest Stupa in Thailand, is located in the province of Nakorn Pathom.

The Stupa is 120.45 meters high, i.e. it is about the same height as St. Paul Cathedral in London. The current Phra Pathom Chedi, which covers the old one, dates from the time of King Ramas IV, while the old one was probably two thousand years old.

Wat Phra Pathom Chedi is one of the six royal temples of the highest rank in Thailand.

History

The ancient Pathom Chedi was discovered by Prince Mongkut in the time of Ramas III, when he made a pilgrimage to Nakorn Pathom as a monk.

Here he found an old stupa 81 meters high in the form of an upside-down bowl with a tapered “Prang”. However, this old Stupa was only renovated in 1853 after Prince Mongkut had climbed the Tron. The renovation took a total of 17 years.

Many archaeologists claim that the old stupa – due to its shape – is stylistically similar to the “Maha Chedi Sanchi” in India, which was built in the time of King Asoke the Great of India (3rd century – 2nd century BC).

When King Asoke sent his religious missionary, Phra Sona Thera and Phra Uttara Thera to the “Golden Land”, the Stupa was built.

However, the exact date of origin remains in the dark. The name “Phra Pathom Chedi” came from King Rama IV and means “the first Stupa built in Thailand”

Things to see

The large Stupa is the main attraction of the temple, surrounded by a round gallery and four Vihan in the north, south, east and west.

The Stupa is 120.45 meters high and 233.50 meters wide under the base, which is supported by a balustrade. Above the second layer there is the lotus leaf base, the bell, the throne and the smaller rings on top.

At the top there is a “nopasul” together with an honorary crown, which represents the royal emblem of Rama IV. The four main Vihan stand around the Stupa on four sides. Vihan Luang in the East, the South Vihan, the West Vihan and the North Vihan

  • Vihan Luang contains two chambers. The outer chamber contains a Buddha statue in an enlightened position. The inner chamber shows paintings of the rough stupa, angels, hermits, Garuda, Naga, etc., which are gathered to worship the Phra Pathom Chedi. The pictures are by a painter, Phra Ya Anusat Chitrakorn, who lived during the reign of Rama VI.
  • The South Vihan in turn consists of two chambers. In the outer chamber there is a statue of Buddha showing a sermon to his first five students. The inner chamber contains another seated Buddha statue under the protection of the five-headed Naga.
  • The West Vihan, a reclining Buddha statue in the outer chamber of this Vihan and another statue in the position of entering Nirvana are kept in the inner Vihan. The last mentioned Buddha statue is surrounded by his three fellowers.
  • The North Vihan is on the same side as the main entrance to the temple. Inside there is a large standing Buddha statue called “Phra Ruang Rotchanarit, which was discovered by Crown Prince Vachiravut (Rama VI) in Sri Sachanalai. After the restoration in Bangkok, the statue was taken to the temple of Phra Pathom Chedi.
  • The gallery of both the Phra Pathom Chedi and its portal are round. On the inner side of the gallery there are inscriptions with Buddhist teachings in Pali. The outside of the gallery is filled with 66 statues of Buddha in various positions.
  • The Bot is on the south side of the large Stupa. It was built in the time of Ramas VII on the site of the old building from the time of Ramas IV. The architect was Prince Narit. The bot shows a simple style without extravagant decoration. On each of the four marked secreted stones (sema)  is the image of the “Thao Jatulokabal”, the four spirits who watch over the human world. The main Dvaravadi-style Buddha statue in the Bot made of white stone. It depicts Buddha while he is preaching. Other Buddha statues can be seen in the corridor at the stairs west of the large stupa. There are a total of four Buddha statues of this shape in Thailand. The third can be found in the Chao Sam Phra Ya National Museum in Ayutthaya; but it is made of green and not white stone.
Phuttamonthon

Phuttamonthon is currently considered the largest Buddhist site in Thailand. It is set on 1,000 acres and extends over four districts in Nakorn Pathom Province.

History of origin

The idea of making Phuttamonthon the largest Buddhist city in Thailand already existed at the time of Prime Minister Field Marshal Pibulsongkram, but was rejected by parliament. However, this plan was accepted during the celebration at the beginning of the 25th Buddhist century.

Later, on July 29, 1955, King Bhumibol laid the foundation stone for the main Buddha statue. Construction slowed down because most of the financial support was missing. In 1978 the Phuttamonthon project received further funding from the government of Prime Minister general Kriengsak Chamanan.

The Phuttamonthon as such contains the following sights.

  1. The main Buddha statue
  2. The residence of the Supreme Patriach
  3. Four monuments representing four Buddhist holy places  
  4. The Central Library for Buddhism
  5. A Buddhist museum
  6. A Buddhist rite auditorium
  7. A small ordination hall
  8. A park where important Buddhist trees are planted.

The main Buddha statue was designed by Professor Silpa Bhirasi in 1955 and was not made until 1981.

The statue, 17.358 meters high, has a striding position. It was called “Phra Si Sakaya Thosaponyan” by King Rama IX  and is considered the largest bronze statue in the Bangkok period.

Kampaeng Phet Historical Park

Geography

Kampaeng Phetch is 482 kilometers from Bangkok. The river “Ping”, which flows through the city, divides the city with its contrasting landscape into the mountainous west and the plains in the east, where the new city of Kampaeng Phetch is located.

History

A famous Thai historian, Prince Damrong Rachanupab claims that in ancient times the ancient cities like Cha kang Rao, Nakorn Chum were on the west side of the river. However, another city was found across from Nakorn Chum, and this later became known as Kampaeng Phetch.

When exactly these cities were discovered is still in the dark. But they are definitely backdated to at least 1357, since kampaeng Phetch was made the seat of the Crown Prince since 1358. This date refers to the reigns of King Li Thai of Sukhothai and King U-thong of Ayutthaya.

Attractions in Kampaeng Phet

The old town of Kampaeng Phetch, surrounded by a 5 meter high wall, offers beautiful old temples such as Wat Phra kaeo and Wat Phra That to visit, outside the city are Wat Phra Non, Wat Phra Si Iriyabot and Wat Chang Rob.

Wat Phra Kaeo

is located in the middle of the city, north of the Royal Palace. The center of the Wat is a bell-shaped Stupa in Sinhala style on a square base decorated with niches.

The lower row of niches contains 32 “singha”, the middle row has 16 Buddha statues, while the upper row has four verandas without any singhas or Buddha statues. To the east of the Stupa there are pillars with raised foundations.

Next door you can see ruins of the lower part of what is believed to be part of a Mondop.

To the west of the Stupa is a reclining Buddha, on the base of which there are very small Stupas in a row. The big seated Buddha behind it is strangely from a later date. It is said that the Emerald Buddha was here once, hence the name of this Wats.

During the restoration of the wat, 35 basic columns of Stupa of different styles were found, eight Vihan – large and small as well as the base area of three Bots.

Because of this, this temple seems to be the largest and most important in Kampaeng Phetch.

Wat Phra That

The next large temple within the city wall, east of Wat Phra Kaeo, is Wat Phra That with its main Stupa made of laterite and brick, the square base of which is the foundation of the large Vihan made of laterite. The gallery surrounding the Stupa connects it to the Vihan.

In the gallery you can still see the interior of some stucco Buddha statues that were once placed here. To the north and south of the Vihans are Stupas, which are surrounded by a wall made of laterite.

Wat Phra Non 

This temple is located north of the city outside the old city wall, again surrounded by a laterite wall. A fragment of the discovered stucco “Singha” figure is shown in front of the Bot. The base of the Bot is 80 cm. High. There are stairs in front and behind.

The eight-sided column consists entirely of laterite. Behind the Bot one arrives at the Vihan, in which the reclining Buddha is located. On the western side of this Vihan there is a Stupa made of laterite on a square base, the top end of which is eight-sided in three layers.

There is also a niche of Buddha statues behind the Stupa, a Vihan in front of the Stupa and seventeen ruins of Stupa foundations. Wat Phra Non is therefore regarded as a relatively large temple.

Wat Phra Si iriyabot

This temple is located north of Wat Phra Non and is commonly known as Wat Phra Yuen, surrounded by four laterite walls. In the courtyard in front of the Wat there is a laterite Vihan base that is about two meters high. Behind the Vihan is a four-gabled Mondop.

The eastern side of this Mondops contains a walking Buddha, the northern side a reclining, the southern side a sitting and the western side a standing Buddha. All of these Buddha statues show the Sukhothai style of the Kampaeng Phetch school.

Wat Chang Rob

Located on a small hill. The main stupa is a bell-shaped chedi Ceylonese style with a square floor plan, on which the decorated front body of an elephant can be seen.

There is a large Vihan in front of the stupa. In the north there is a medium-sized Bot base, surrounded by non-decorated boundary stones.

During the restoration, numerous terracotta figures in various shapes were discovered, such as dancing girls, demons, hamsa angels and human faces.

These figures represent both the late Sukhothai style and the early Ayutthaya style, the details of which give an idea of the life and clothing of the people of that time.

The objects are exhibited in the National Museum in Kampaeng Phetch.

Phitsanulok

Geography

Pitsanulok is located in the southern part of northern Thailand. The neighboring cities are Pichit, Kampaeng Phetch, Sukhothai, Uttaradit, Loey and Phetchabuhn.

To the west of Pitsanulok, a plain extends along the Yom and Nan rivers. In the east, hills and mountains rise to the border with the provinces of Loey and Phetchabuhn.

Pitsanulok lies on the two banks of the Nan River. The old town is on the right bank of the river, while the shops and banks are concentrated on the left bank.

History

Pitsanulok was originally called “Muang Song Kwae” because it is located between two rivers, Nan and Yom. The city was probably built during the Khmer rule, a little earlier than the Sukhothai period. During the Sukhothai period, Muang Song Kwae was believed to have been part of the Sukhothai Empire as the city was mentioned on the stone inscription.

The king Li Thai stayed for 7 years, between 1362-1368, in Muang Song kwae and had 3 important Buddha statues built:

  1. Phra Puttha Chinnarat
  2. Phra Puttha Chinasri
  3. Phra Sasada

Muang Song Kwae again gained importance when it became the seat of Crown Prince Phra Ramesuan, son of King Borom Racha II. After the Crown Prince climbed the Tron of Ayutthaya in 1448, he only stayed in Ayutthaya for a few years. From 1463 until his death in 1448 he stayed in Muang Song Kwae, whose name was later changed to Pitsanulok.

Pitsanulok was the birthplace of the famous King Naresuan the Great, who was born here in 1555. A shrine was placed next to his birthplace in the old Palace in 1961.

Attractions in Pitsanulok
Wat Phra Sri Maha That

Located near the Naresuan Bridge on the east bank of the Nan River is very famous. The temple was built around 1357 during the reign of King Li Thai of Sukhothai. The center of this temple is the great Prang, which is surrounded by four Vihan.

  • The West Vihan. In the West Vihan is the important Buddha statue Phra Puttha Chinarat.
  • The North Vihan. In this building another famous Buddha statue Phra Puttha Chinasri was erected, which is currently in Wat Bovonnivet in Bangkok.
  • The East Vihan. This Vihan contains Phra Attarot, a stucco Buddha statue 9 meters high.
  • The South Vihan. Inside was a Buddha statue called Phra Sasada, which was later brought to Bangkok. Phra Sasada is currently being replaced by other new Buddha statues.
Phra Puttha Chinarat

In West Vihan is a bronze statue in the late Sukhothai style and depicts the Buddha when he overpowered the Mara.

The curved flame at the back is made of carved wood with fictional figures at the end and at shoulder height.

Kanchanaburi

Geography

The province of Kanchanaburi with its mountainous landscape lies west of Bangkok, where the small river Kwae Noi and the big river Kwae Yai originate, which form the river Mae Klong in the district Pak Phreak.

History

Archaeological excavations in Kanchanaburi show that this city was once the center of prehistoric society of the Old Stone, Middle Stone and Neolithic Periods.

The small regional museum in the Ban kao district displays bones and tools from the prehistoric cultures in the area.

During the Dvaravadi period, Kanchanaburi was culturally influenced by its two large neighboring cities, Nakon Pathom and U – Thong, the cultural center of the time.

With the rise of the Khmer, Kanchanaburi also became a part of the Khmer Empire, the blossom of which was manifested in buildings such as Prasart Muang Singh. During the Ayutthaya period, Kanchaburi became important as a border area between Burma and Siam.

Several heavy battles between troops of both peoples took place here, even up to the time of King Ramas III. From the Chakri dynasty until Burma lost its independence to England.

Kanchanaburi, the town of the little Mae Nam Khae or “River Kwai”, became world famous through the Hollywood film by Pierre Bouille “The Bridge on the Kwai”, which dealt with the events of the Second World War.

Ruin and historical sites
Ban Kao Museum

The museum in the Ban Kao district – about 34 kilometers from the city – is located on the Kwae Noi River. In 1963 archaeologists discovered skulls, skeletons, stone axes, pots and jewelry in this area, which presumably come from the prehistoric period, the old stone and bronze period.

The Prasart Muang Singh Shrine

This Khmer shrine is considered to be the symbol of power of the Khmer Empire in this era. It is located about 250 meters from the left bank of the Kwae Noi River in Muang-Singh, a subdistrict of the Saiyok District.

It is believed that this stone shrine was built by King Jayavoraman VII, the ruler of the Khmer Empire in the 12th century. The discovery of the stone statue of Bothisatt (1.60 meters tall) is an indication that this shrine was considered a Mahayana Buddhist temple at the time.

The shrine, surrounded by earthenware walls, sits on 80 acres of land. The main Prang in the middle with its smaller satellites around the four corners was built on a platform with an arched roof corridor that connects all Prangs with one another.

The building consists of laterite with some sandstones and was mainly decorated with sculptures made of bas relief stucco. This is reminiscent of the Prang Sam Yot temple in Lopburi.

The bridge over the River Kwai

During World War II, the Japanese army wanted to establish a route to transport soldiers and goods between Burma and Thailand.

Therefore, in 1942 a 250 mile (415 km.) Long monorail line was built from the Kwae Noi River through the malaria jungle. This leads to the Burmese territory.

Construction lasted for a year during which enormous numbers of Allied POWs lost their lives to malaria and chorera. The bridge was destroyed in a bomb attack in 1945 and rebuilt by the Thai railway administration.

The Allied Soldiers Cemetery

6,982 prisoners of war who had fallen during the construction of the “Railway of Death” were buried in the Kanchanaburi cemetery behind the main train station.

Another smaller cemetery, which can only be reached by boat, is on the right side of the Kwae Yai River, about 2 km. From the city center. Here are the graves of 1750 soldiers.

The War Museum

The museum in the form of straw huts shows the prison camps during World War II. The museum exhibits pictures, drawings and paintings that show life in the camp. Many of the items are donations from relatives of the prisoners themselves.

Phetchaburi

Geography

Phetchburi is located in western Thailand, 165 kilometers from Bangkok on the road to Phetkasem. In the west of the province there are many mountains that belong to the Tanaovasri Mountains and delimit Thailand from Burma.

The plain to the east of the city is part of the large plain around the Gulf of Thailand. Phetchburi is located on the Phetchburi River, which flows into the sea at Ampoe Ban Leam.

History

Phetchburi is one of the oldest cities in Thailand. The City like other cities in Suwannaphum and in the Dvaravadi empire probably belonged to the Mons.

When Nakorn Sri Thammarat extended his rule over Dvaravdi and the Khmer Empire in the 9th century, Phetchburi also became dependent on it, because according to a legend, a Prince from Nakorn Sri Thammarat ruled over Phetchburi.

Wat Kampaeng Laeng is a prime example of the Khmer influence on the region before it became a Buddhist temple. In the 14th century, when the Thais established their rule over central Suwannaphum, Phetchburi was subjugated.

The inscription on the Ramkhamhaengstone mentions Phetchburi as a city of the Sukhothai Empire.

In the Chronicle of Ayutthaya, Phetchburi is mentioned several times, mostly in connection with invasion and rebellion. It is said that this city was given different names by foreigners “Pipry” Even in the earlier Bangkok period the city was known as “Muang Prippri”.

The earlier name from the Sukhothai period only became popular again during the reign of King Rama IV and has remained in existence ever since.

Phetchburi is one of the old cities that fortunately was not conquered and looted by the Burmese in 1767. There you can still find a number of places and sights that have been preserved in good condition.

Places to Visit
Phra Nakorn Kiri

This Palace on a mountain,95 meters high called “Mahaisawan” became popularly known as “Kao Wang”. King Rama IV had this palace built in 1858, a mixture of European, Thai and Chinese style elements.

Mount Mahaisawan has three peaks. Most important is the palace building on the west side. In the middle there is a Stupa called Phra That Chomphet, on the eastern tip there is a royal temple, Wat Phra Kaeo. King Rama IV visited Phetchburi often and stayed there for a long time. King Rama V also visited the temple at the beginning of his reign.

In this time Phetchburi was a reception center for foreign state guests and was at that time a kind of vacation spot in the country. However, Phra Nakorn Kiri subsequently lost its importance and was uninhabited. In 1953 it became a historical place. The palace was restored between 1982 and 1987.

The western side

Interesting sights are:

 
  1. The horse stable on both sides of the street
  2. Living areas of the royal officers and servants on the left
  3. The officers’ hall on the other side of the street
  4. The guard on the right side of the street
  5. The Royal Hall for State Guests. In front of the bedroom there is a balcony on which his majesty and the guests could watch performances on the stage.
  6. The Phetchapum Pairoj hall is the largest hall on the western side and contains the royal suite: dining room, audience hall.Waiting room and bedroom.
  7. The Phramot Mahaisawan Hall: This two-story building resembles a Chinese pavilion and has an entrance to the royal suite.

On the first floor there are two large halls, the second floor contains a large hall and two bedrooms, the north of which is that of the queen.

The last two halls mentioned, Phetchapum Pairot and Pramot Mahaisawan, served as a museum during their time, in which the following pieces are exhibited:

  1. Personal possessions of Rama IV and V such as desks, dining tables, beds, dressing tables etc. Some objects clearly show the Chinese style, some are imitations of the western style, made by Chinese carpenters.
  2. Bronze statues found in several rooms. Presumably this was a collection of King Rama V from his visit to Europe.
  3. Chinese, Japanese and European ceramics. Plant pots and vessels are Chinese and Japanese, European items are mostly vases, perfume bottles, cutlery sets, rinsing stands, etc.
  4. Vejyan Vichien Prasart. The building is 14 meters high with a grand tower and varanda around the four sides. This building contains a bronze statue of King Rama IV in a standing position under the royal nine-layer chatra with a sword in his right hand and a book in his left.
  5. The Thammasapa Hall, next to Vejyan Vichien Prasart is this one-story hall in Chinese style with a round doorway and false Ionic column. Apparently a composition of Thai, Chinese and European styles. King Rama IV once used it as his sermon hall.
  6. Hor Chatchawan Viengchai refers to the tower in front of the Thammasapa Hall. This lighthouse-like building has a spiral staircase up to the top, where there is a round balcony with a glass roof. A lamp hangs here, the light of which can be seen as far as the sea.
  7. This tower is called “Glass Tower or Observatory, because King Rama IV was an astronomer and had this building built for his astronomical study. At that time the royal flag was seen in front of the tower as a sign when his majesty was on the tower.

  8. Hor Piman Phetmahaisuan consists of three halls that are combined. The middle hall, which is the largest, contains a Buddha statue, the right hall has a shrine for guard angels and the left served as a music hall. The middle hall was used as a religious hall at the time of Rama IV. The king meditated here or used the hall on Buddhist holidays. Phra That Chompet and Wat Phra Kaeo can be seen through the window.
The mountain in the middle

Here is a stupa, Phra that Chompet, which was built by King Rama IV. The Chedi is 40 meters high and 20 meters wide. Inside the foundation there is a round room with a large pillar in the middle. Four entrances lead to the room from which one can come up to the balustrade. From the balustrade you have a good view over the whole city of Phetchburi.

The mountain on the east side

Wat Phra Kaeo is on this mountain. The temple contains a Bot, the Phra Suttha Chedi, a bell tower, Phra Prang Daeng and a pavilion.

The Bot is small with a marble wall and a colored tile roof. In the bot there used to be a crystal Buddha statue. After the time of Rama IV, this statue was transported to Bangkok and a marble Buddha was placed here.

The Phra Sutta Chedi is behind the Bot, a round Chedi made of marble on a square base 3 meters wide. The Chedi is 9 meters high and made of gray – green marble from Si Chang Island.

The bell tower is in front of the Bot and has jagged edges

Phra Prang Daeng, a building with breakthrough work. In the lower part of the Prang, in which there is a Buddha statue, there are pillared halls on four sides with four entrances to the Prang.

Wat Mahsomnaram

The temple was built on the hill south-east of Phranakorn Kiri. From the main street on the way to the palace there is a side street that leads to Wat Mahasomnaram.

This temple was restored and renamed on behalf of King Rama IV after the construction of the Phra Nakorn Kiri Palace.

In the Wat you can find the wall painting by the famous painter Krua In Khong on four walls, which shows people worshiping the Buddha’s footprint as well as other holy places such as Phra Pathom Chedi and Phra Borom That Nakorn Sri Thammarat.

This wall painting is the only one by the master Krua In Khong in his hometown of Phetchburi.

Wat Phra Buddha Saiyat

The temple is located south-east of the Pra nakorn Kiri Palace at the foot of the Kao Mahaisawan. It contains a lying Buddha statue made of brick and plaster of 42.9 meters.

Many archaeologists claim that the statue shows the Ayutthaya style and was erected during the reign of King Borom kot as two of his wives were from Phetchburi. The statue was originally in the open. Later, king MongKut (Rama IV) had a roof built over it, which was repaired in the time of king Chulalongkorn (Rama V).

Wat Sa Bua

At the foot of the mountain on the eastern side you can find this temple, the construction of which – due to the foundation of the Bot – can be dated back to the Ayutthaya period. The temple contains a very beautiful column base and a beautiful Buddha statue. The stucco work on both the gable wall and the column base is the best example of the stucco work of the Ayutthaya period.

Wat Phra Sri Rattana Mahathat (Wat Na Phra That)

This temple is located in the city center. The five grand towers are worth mentioning. The tower with a veranda on the four sides is 42 meters high and surrounded by smaller towers.

It was probably built in the Khmer style of Mahayana Buddhism and has undergone several restorations. The main statue in the bot is a crowned Buddha.

Three well-known Buddha statues should also be mentioned: Luang Po Mahathat, Luang Po Banleam, (originally from Ban Leam, Samut Songkram province) and Luang Po kao Takrao (originally from Wat kao Takrao, where the Phetburi River has its mouth).

Wat koh Kaeo Suttharam

Wat Koh kaeo Suttharam is another ancient temple from the Ayutthaya period. The wall painting in the Bot dates from 1734 during the reign of King Borom Kot. The pictures depict scenes from the life of Buddha as well as from the Buddhist cosmology Traipum.

Due to the reversed position of the painting themes, it seems quite possible that the main Buddha statues have been rearranged, presumably because the temple got a different entrance on the newly built street.

Wat Kampaeng Laeng (Wat Tepprasart Sila Laeng)

The temple has a laterite wall, hence its name. It was probably originally a Hindu shrine, as a figure of the Hindu goddess U-Ma was found here in 1956.

An interesting attraction of this temple are the five laterite monuments, which – with a distance of 20 meters each stand to the east. Each monument has the shape of a Prang with four vestibules and a jagged corner.

The lined up towers resemble the Prasart Sikhorapum in Ban Ra Ngae, in the province of Surin. If these five laterite monuments were supposed to come from the same time as the Prasart, this was made in the 12th century.

Wat Yai Suwannaram

The temple was built during the Ayutthaya period. Although the landmark around the Bot and the Buddha statue behind the main Buddha characterize the style of olden times, this hypothesis is not yet accepted.

Originally the temple was called “Wat Yai”. Later it got a new name after a respected monk from Phetchburi during the reign of King Sri Sanphet VIII – Phra Suwanmuni or Somdet Taeng Mo, who restored the temple. However, people named the temple after its old name and added the new name – Wat Yai Suwannaram the name was officially accepted. The temple contains the following interesting objects:

The Bot, built in Ayutthaya style with glass decoration on the gable wall and a decorated overhanging roof edge. At the end of the eastern gable there is a plaster garuda surrounded by motifs arranged in a circle and at the end of the western gable there are further stucco figures of Deva on Asura surrounded by flame motifs.

There is no window on the wall in the north and south of the Bot, but the front wall has two huge towers and a large high window as well as door frames that were painted red on the outside, while the inside shows colorful guards. Rows of umbrellas are placed above the main Buddha statue made of brick and plaster of paris with a knee span of 2.2 meters, which is in a sitting position.

The high column base shows a distorted lotus decoration with colored mosaic glasses. In front of the statue there are three more lying Buddhas while they overpower the Mara. You can find two Buddha figures in a meditating position in the next row.

At one end the figure of Somdet Chao Taeng Mo and at the other end the former abbot who carried out the restoration of the Wats in the time of king Ramas V. Another bronze Buddha figure with a knee span of 1.40 meters can be found on the wall behind the main statue. This Buddha has six toes on the right foot. It has been claimed that before the main restoration in the Ayutthaya period, this statue originally represented the main character in the Bot.

Vihan Thong

The Vihan with a gallery on two sides of the Bot is right in front of the building. In the Vihan there is the Chulamani Chedi, which is 2.50 meters high.

Sacred Stone

The Sacred Stone are doubled, there are two stones on the back side on top of each other. The column base with jagged corners like a stupa is made of brick and plaster.

Because of their shape, it is said that the landmarks, like the Buddha figure with six toes on the right foot, date from the pre-Ayutthaya period. The gallery around the Bot is from a later time. Divided into units with double roofs, roof ends and decorated gutters, the gallery resembles a miniature Vihan.

The gallery used to contain 117 statues of Buddha, including 12 standing Buddhas and 105 seated ones. At the end of the gable is the sign of king Rama V a Thai 5 on a plaque with a small sword on it.

Sala Kanparien is a large pavilion 30 meters long and 10 meters wide behind the Bot. The roof consists of two rows one above the other, the ends and overhanging roof edges were decorated with colored glass, the gable wall is characterized as a magnificent stucco model.

There are five early gateways leading to the pavilion, which contains two large sermon seats. The panels of the front door show a very fine inlaid glass work depicting animal figures. The filling on the right is marked, probably by the sword of a Burmese on his way to the conquest of Ayutthaya in 1764. This story, however, remains a legend.

Ho Trai

There are two buildings for storing Buddhist inscriptions. The old building is a one-story wooden house in Thai style in the middle of the pond with a small bridge as access to the building. The new building is next to the abbot’s residential unit, a two-story building built in 1927.